FRIENDS AND FAMILY WILL GO NUTS FOR THIS SWEET GIFT
A tradition in my family has always been to make Christmas goodies where possible. You save money at a time when it’s tight, and everyone I know loves to receive a gift handmade with love. I like almond, pecan and macadamia brittles, but this year I’ve tried something a little different. India is famous for sweets; peanut chikki is the sub-continent’s version of peanut brittle. It traditionally uses jaggery, a sugar most often made from cane. It’s found in supermarkets or Asian food stores, but you can get a satisfactory result by substituting an equal amount of brown sugar with a little molasses added. PEANUT CHIKKI
INGREDIENTS 500g skinless peanuts 150g (1 1⁄2 cups) jaggery or brown sugar with 2 tbsp molasses added 60g (1⁄4 cup) ghee or unsalted butter Extra ghee or butter to grease baking tray 2 tbsp pepitas METHOD Heat a heavy frying pan over medium heat and add peanuts. Stir with a wooden spoon for 5–6 minutes until they are golden brown and fragrant. Don’t allow them to burn. Remove from heat and pour out of the pan into a bowl to stop them cooking further. Grease a baking tray with the extra ghee or butter and set aside. Place frying pan back on medium heat and cook jaggery and ghee together, stirring constantly, until it turns a dark brown. You should be able to smell when it’s done, but you can test it by dropping a little into ice water and allowing to harden. It should be brittle. If you have a sugar thermometer, it should be at 120C-130C. Remove from heat and stir peanuts through, then immediately pour into the prepared baking tray, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with pepitas and cut into squares with a sharp knife before it completely hardens. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place.