FRIENDS AND FAM­ILY WILL GO NUTS FOR THIS SWEET GIFT

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | FOOD & WINE - WEEK­END COOK WORDS: MAG­GIE COOPER mag­gies.col­[email protected]­pond.com

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

Serves 8

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.

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