|Almond in molten gold|
It finally happened. At first, it was just a rattling sound which I mistook for its displeasure of cooking nuts. I only realized the enormity of the situated when it coded. What is H98 anyway? A cry for help ? DNR ?
I tried to understand its final words but still, it refused to be revived. My 13 month old Panasonic oven has flat-lined and died on me.
The breakdown of my microwave oven has suddenly rendered me powerless as though my identity as a homemaker relied on it. I was like a tiger without fangs. I never knew how integral it was in my domestic life until now ; I could not cook my rice, grill my cheese, heat up my food and sanitize my dish cloth.
And like most precious things suddenly ripped off my life, I reflected on the recipes I have yet to try and 'lost opportunities'. You never know what you have until you lose them !
Thankfully, I rebounded from my 'temporary' loss and learnt to steam my food and rice, like in the days of old. Though I did not savor these tedious moments, I began to appreciate the resilience of those who make do with little all their life.
With the oven out of my life for a week and the cooking itch bugging, I decided to make something exciting out of a batch of blanched almonds from a recent experiment on my stove. It was almost perfect except to my total dismay, I had not greased the parchment paper and my beautiful brittle was glued to it without any intention of yielding. So, beware !
Now, I have to mull over two things : should I make a second batch of perfect brittle and how much 'cellulose enriched' brittle should I consume ?
Handle the hot sugar syrup with extreme care as boiling caramel can be as hot as 200C and can cause serious burns.
1 cup blanched almonds, toasted
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Prepare a large piece of greased parchment .
In a wide pot, cook water and sugar on medium high, stirring to dissolve the sugar in the heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring. Reduce heat to medium.
Periodically, gently swirl the syrup gently about the pot.
Cook for 8 minutes or until syrup turns amber. Remove pot from heat.
At this point, get all your other ingredients ready since the caramel sets very quickly.
Add almonds and vanilla extract. Stir with a long ladle. The caramel will spit and sizzle so take care not to burn yourself.
Pour hot brittle onto the greased parchment. Spread the nuts with a wooden ladle.
Sprinkle sea salt over the hot brittle.
Leave parchment with brittle to cool, about 1 hour. Peel off parchment and break to bite size. Use as garnish over ice cream or peanut butter toast.
If you prefer less chunky brittle or wish to release your tension, bash the brittle between waxed papers with a handy hammer. The little crunchy bits goes well with all sorts of desserts.