Friday, April 25, 2008

Caramelized Spicy Peanuts

This is my mash up of two recipes from David Lebovitz. He had posted a praline almond recipe a while ago that I tried exactly as posted. They were good without being incredible. Then he posted a caramelized peanut recipe a couple of days ago. I decided to sort of do both at once. I choose peanuts and added cinnamon, chili, and butter. They turned out great and totally worth all of the stirring that you have to commit to in order to make them.

Really, lots and lots of stirring. Put on a good radio program and settle in by your stove top.
Good with a beer or served over ice cream which is my plan.
Always dessert oriented…what can I say? I love dessert.

Caramelized Spicy Peanuts
2 cups raw peanuts
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
A pinch of coarse sea salt (or smoked salt)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
1 tablespoon butter

1. In a wide, heavy-duty skillet, mix the peanuts with the sugar and water. Cook the ingredients over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid seizes up. It will take 5 minutes or so. Don’t get impatient…it will happen.

2. The peanuts will get crusty and the sugar will crystallize.

3. Then the peanuts will become dry and sandy, which is perfectly normal. Lower the heat and keep going, scraping up any syrup collecting in the bottom of the pan and stir the peanuts in it, coating them as much as possible. If the sugar isn’t caramelizing turn the heat up a little.

4. As you go, tilt the pan, removing it from the heat from time-to-time to regulate the heat and the syrup, so you can coat the nuts with the liquid as it darkens without burning the peanuts or the syrup. This is the only tricky part—I like to get the peanuts as deeply-bronzed as possible. if the mixture starts to smoke, remove it from the heat and stir.

5. I sprinkled the peanuts with a sizable pinch of flaky salt. I also sprinkled on cinnamon and chili powder while mixing the peanuts

6. When the peanuts are dark and coated remove from heat and mix in the butter and stir till fully mixed in. Then, tilt them out onto a baking sheet or a marble countertop.

7. Let the peanuts cool completely, then break up any clumps. Store in an airtight container, where they'll keep up to a week.

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