One of the great ways to boost your psyche is during emergency situations is with comfort foods. This can be even more important for kids and grandkids, as they need an anchor to hold while things are swirling about them. Comfort foods like mashed potatoes and gravy. Mac and cheese. Fresh baked bread. Beef stew. Roasted chicken.
The problem with sweets is many of them go bad quickly. Chocolate is difficult to store long-term. It spoils, it melts, it gets plain old sloppy! Same thing goes for any kind of creamed candy or gummy type stuff.
Hard candy is a good choice because it will keep forever as long as it stays dry. Still, being able to “kick it up a notch” is a good thing.
When making homemade candy, a big problem can be the need for a fairly accurate thermometer. I’m guessing most people don’t keep a candy thermometer in their preps package.
Thankfully, there is a candy you can make that doesn’t need one, and you most likely have all of the ingredients needed in your prepper stores: Peanut Brittle.
I have been making this stuff, literally, since I was 10 years old. I must have seen my mom cooking something and how the sugar melted and decided it looked like brittle. I remember her leaving the house, and I threw a bunch of sugar in a pan and cooked it up. I don’t recall getting whacked on the butt, so I must have gotten away with it!
The following recipe uses two ingredients – white sugar and peanuts. You could use any kind of nut, but salty, dry-roasted peanuts are the best.
Take two cups of sugar and place it in a pan over medium high heat. Give it a stir with a wooden spoon once in a while until you start to see it liquefy around the edges.
Rather quickly, it will begin to further liquefy. Obviously, don’t touch this stuff. It is molten sugar. Keep your kids away while you prepare the treat.
Keep stirring the stuff. It will quickly liquefy. Toss in a cup of dry roasted peanuts and stir it up. The shock of the cool nuts get the slurry to harden for a second. Just keep stirring.
I took a simple cookie sheet that I sprayed with Pam, and slathered on the slurry. Move quickly, as it starts to set up rather quickly.
Throw it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so (careful – the cookie sheet gets awful damned hot). Pull it out and crack it up.
This stuff tastes great and takes nothing to make. If you want a more traditional brittle, when you throw in the nuts, also throw in a tablespoon of butter, a pinch of salt and a half teaspoon of baking soda. Stir it up well. It lightens it up a bit. A shot of vanilla extract in either recipe adds a nice touch as well.
If you have corn syrup also in your preps pantry, start out with the two cups of sugar with a cup of the syrup and a cup of water. You need some extra tools here – a teaspoon and a bowl of water.
When the slurry turns light brown, drop some into the cup of water. If it immediately turns hard, add the nuts, 2 tablespoons of butter, a half teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda, stir completely (it might foam up a bit) and put into the pan to harden.
If you’ve got Spanish peanuts instead of dry roasted, you need to get rid of the skins. Boil up some water. When it’s at a full boil, toss your nuts into the boiling water (ouch!) the immediately scoop them out. The skins will fall right off.