E6 Tuesday, April 19, 2011 • THE BULLETIN
Delicious peanut brittle without all the snap By Julie Rothman The Baltimore Sun
Pat Braun, of Mount Pleasant, Wis., said she was at an Amish settlement a few years back and had a soft peanut brittle. She said it tasted just like peanut brittle but was not as hard. She said she has tried several times to duplicate it with no success. Ardice Holbrook, of Manchester, Md., sent in a recipe she came across on the Internet from CDKitchen ( w w w. c d k i t c h e n .com) that she thought Braun might want to try. I tested the recipe and found it was fairly easy to make, provided you have a working candy thermometer and don’t mind a bit of a mess in your kitchen. The key is to work quickly once the brittle reaches the required 300 degrees so it does not turn into an overly sticky mess before you spread it. As the recipe states, the secret to this candy is quick cooling, so once you spread it out, pop it into the refrigerator, or if it’s cold enough you could do what I did and put it outside to cool. This recipe makes a delicious brittle that is a softer alternative to the traditional
favorite. It also makes quite a lot, so you should have plenty to share. RECIPE REQUEST: Arlene Bird, of Sonoma, Calif., says she is fond of the cheese biscuits that are served at the restaurant chain Red Lobster. She says the biscuit is very light and so rich it does not need butter. She would love to have their recipe or something similar.
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278 or e-mail recipefinder@ baltsun.com. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.
Grab your stickers and stencils, time to dye eggs MARTHA STEWART Easter eggs have always been a vibrant bunch, thanks to good old food coloring and a little imagination. This year’s batch takes palette and pattern a step further. Inspired by mid-20th-century graphic design, these projects bring the era’s bright hues, geometric forms and sense of whimsy to the eggshell. The technique used gives impressive results but is fun and easy enough to do with kids, who are sure to love the eye-popping patterns. The trick? Stickers and stencils that you make from adhesive vinyl and electrical tape. After you apply stick-on shapes to the egg, dip it into dye or dab color right onto the shell. Then repeat, layering on more colors and designs. You can’t make a mistake — all your creations will be charming and surprising. Fresh eggs, indeed.
Johnny Miller / New York Times News Service
It only takes a few simple tools to create detailed Easter egg designs: Try making patterns with punched shapes (top row), strips of electrical tape (middle) and stencils (bottom).
Egg dyeing how-to SOFT PEANUT BRITTLE Makes about 3 pounds. 2 C creamy peanut butter 1½ C sugar 1½ C light corn syrup ¼ C water plus 2 tsp (divided use)
2 TBS butter 2 C peanuts, raw or roasted, salted or unsalted 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp vanilla extract
In a double boiler over hot water, place peanut butter to heat while preparing syrup. In a large saucepan combine, sugar, corn syrup and ¼ cup water. Cook over high heat until syrup reaches 275 degrees on the candy thermometer. Lower heat to medium, add butter, stirring until melted. Add peanuts, cook, stirring for about 5 minutes until candy starts turning brown and reaches 300 degrees on the thermometer. Remove from heat, stir in baking soda that has been dissolved in 2 teaspoons of water. Add vanilla. Working quickly, fold in warm peanut butter, stirring gently. At once, pour candy mixture onto well-greased marble slab or cookie sheet. Quickly spread as thin as possible. The secret to this candy is quick cooling. When cold, break into serving portions.
This is a great project to do with kids. Experiment, improvise and have a good time. You need just a few materials. The first is adhesive vinyl. These designs call for three types: plain sheets, shaped with craft punches to make stickers and stencils; preformed letters; and electrical tape, cut using a craft knife and a cutting mat. The vinyl works beautifully: It adheres well and doesn’t let dye seep through, so you can make crisp, clear designs. The second component is dye. Food coloring — the classic four-pack and a neon variation — works well. When stenciling eggs, you’ll use undiluted food coloring; mix hues together for custom blends. For dip-dyeing eggs, make a dye bath: Add one teaspoon of white vinegar and five to 20 drops of food coloring
to one cup of hot water; stir it regularly to keep the color even.
Applying shapes When you stick vinyl cutouts, strips or letters onto an egg and dip it into dye, the areas underneath remain uncolored. Remove the stickers to reveal the shapes. • Position a vinyl cutout on an egg. • With your fingernail, rub gently around the entire outline of cutout, sealing it fully. This will help ensure crisp edges on the finished design. • Use each cutout only one time.
Making stencils When you use a craft punch on vinyl, the shape’s border be-
comes a stencil. Position it on the egg, and dab color inside. • Make a vinyl stencil using a craft punch. • Apply it to the egg, rubbing the inside edge for a good seal. • Using a cotton swab, dab undiluted food coloring inside the stencil; let dry before removing the stencil.
Three designs, step by step Use this technique with punched shapes and vinyl letters: • Apply vinyl leaf cutouts (made with a craft punch) to an egg. • Submerge egg in a red dye bath until desired shade is reached. Dry egg with a paper towel. • Peel off leaf cutouts. Apply
flower cutouts. • Submerge egg in a green dye bath until the desired shade is reached. Dry egg again. • Peel off flower cutouts to reveal the finished egg. To make spirals and square cutouts, use electrical tape, trimmed on a cutting mat if necessary: • Wrap a strip of 1⁄4-inch-wide electrical tape around an egg. • Submerge egg in a yellow dye bath until desired shade is reached. Dry with a paper towel. • Peel off tape. Apply a second, same-size piece of tape, wrapping it in the opposite direction. • Submerge egg in a blue dye bath until desired shade is reached. Dry egg again. • Peel off tape to reveal the finished egg. Animals and dots are fashioned from stencils made with vinyl sheets and circle punches: • Apply vinyl stencils to an egg dyed a pale shade (to create a bunny’s body, use a 1-inch circle punch; for the ears, use a 3⁄4-inch punch and a strip of vinyl). • Dab undiluted dye inside the stencils. • Peel off stencils. Apply two more stencils (for the face, use 3⁄4inch punch; for the tail, use a 1⁄2 inch punch). Dab dye. • Peel off stencils to reveal the bunny shape. • Make eye stencils using a 1 ⁄8-inch hole punch. Dab dye. Cut triangle stencil for nose using a craft knife. Dab dye. • Draw a curved mouth using a fine-tipped permanent-ink marker. Questions should be addressed to Ask Martha, c/o Letters Department, Martha Stewart Living, 601 W. 26th St., 9th floor, New York, NY 10001. Questions may also be sent by e-mail to: mslletters@marthastewart .com. Please include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Questions of general interest will be answered in this column; Martha Stewart regrets that unpublished letters cannot be answered individually.