Nothing Says Happy Holidays Like a Sugar OD

As a society, we clash over religion. We butt heads over politics. And iPhone vs. Blackberry vs. Google Phone? Forget it. So for this holiday season, I'd like to bring it back to something that unites us all. A common denominator if you will. Sugar. Lots and lots of tooth rotting, buzz-inducing, wall-bouncing, good old-fashioned white stuff.

My favorite holiday use of sugar? Cashew brittle. Sweet, buttery, crunchy, delicious...

Usually I'd just show you this nice picture, get you all worked up and be done with it. However, my good friend and goddess of southern style food porn Rachel threatened to cut off my supply of  homemade spice rub if I did not participate in her weekly Moutherwatering Mondays recipe series (just kidding, she is waaaay too nice for that). So I upped the ante (I'm such as kiss-ass). I am giving you the recipe below, and I'll even walk you through it on video. First, the recipe.

Cashew Brittle

1 Cup Unsalted Butter (2 regular sized sticks)
2 Tsp Light Corn Syrup (I go a little more, since it tends to stick on the spoon)
1 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Cashews (Trader Joe's sells chopped, lightly salted ones that are perfect)
Parchment Paper
Baking Sheet
Candy Thermometer

  1. Melt the butter, sugar and corn syrup in a pot over med-high heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon.
  2. After about 5 minutes, the mixture will become frothy, almost doughy. Once this happens, watch the mixture carefully.
  3. The mixture will begin to take on a light beige hue. Once this happens, the mixture will start becoming un-frothy and get darker, at this point stick the thermometer and monitor it closely.
  4. Once the temperature hits 300, turn the heat off immediately and dump the cashews in.
  5. Stir rapidly, making sure all the cashews are covered.
  6. Pour the mixture onto the parchment paper that you have laid out on top of your baking sheet.
  7. Spread/flatten the mixture out so that it is as close to a single layer of cashews as you can get (you want cashew brittle, not cashew clumps).
  8. Let it cool, break into pieces and enjoy!

Helpful hint: the mixture will begin to smoke at 300 degrees, so your window of opportunity on this is short. If you let it go even 3 seconds over, your mixture will smoke and burn, and continue smoking until you have to take the pot outside. You really want to avoid running around your front yard with an oven mitt and smoldering pot in your hands. "Don't worry, I'm a shaman cleansing this house of evil spirits" works only once.

Now the instructional video.

I'd like to thank the folks at RCA for sending me an RCA Small Wonder video camera. I'm going to do a review in the near future, but for now I just wanted to let you all know that I used it to shoot the following video. Well, actually Fury used it. I found this camera to be so simple to use, that I've given it to Fury. And although he's got the functions down already, he has yet to learn the fine art of standing still.

Just so you all don't sue my 6-year old, I have to post this warning: Those who are pregnant or suffer from heart problems or motion sickness should not watch this video. However, if you were able to sit through the Blair Witch Project without reaching for the Dramamine, you might enjoy this.