Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen

Last night I had dinner with five of the "girls" I attended high school with.  It was our annual Christmas gathering where we bring small gifts for each other.  I decided my gifts would be homemade, edible, treats of peanut brittle, chocolate covered caramel corn, and English toffee [placed inside of a Christmas teacup].
I wrapped each teacup in cellophane before putting it into a gift bag with the other treats.
I'm posting my recipes in case anyone needs a Christmas gift giving idea.   I've been making the peanut brittle for over thirty-five years.
Peanut Brittle 
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
2 cups raw peanuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon soda

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in heavy
pan [Dutch oven].  Cook slowly, stirring until
sugar dissolves.  Cook to soft-ball stage on candy
thermometer.  Add peanuts and salt.  Cook to
hard-crack stage, stirring constantly.  Remove
from heat and add butter and soda.  Stir to blend.
Pour onto two buttered cookie sheets.  When
completely cooled, break into pieces.

*  *  *

English Toffee
1 cup [2 sticks] butter
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Milk chocolate [about 8 oz.]
chopped walnuts

Melt butter.  Gradually add sugar, salt and water over gentle heat,
stirring constantly.  Increase to medium-high heat until mixture
reaches the hard-crack stage on a candy thermometer.  Remove
from heat and stir in vanilla.  Spread on a large cookie sheet lined with
parchment paper.  Score into pieces and when cooled break apart
and set on wire cooling racks.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
Spoon over toffee pieces.  Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Allow chocolate to set and then store in air tight container. 

*  *  *

Caramel Corn
7 quarts plain popped popcorn
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup [2 sticks] butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Milk Chocolate [about 8 oz.]

Place popped popcorn in a large roasting pan and set aside.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  When mixture comes to a boil, boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.   Mixture will be foamy.  Pour over the popcorn and stir to coat.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.   When cool, dump out onto waxed paper and gently break apart.   Melt chocolate in double boiler, and drizzle over popcorn by spoonfuls.  When chocolate has set divide into cellophane bags for gift giving.


  1. I don't know how you found time to make all these delicious goodies. Phyllis, you are an amazing lady!

  2. Wonderful, tasty gifts and a Christmas teacup, too! Win-win!

  3. Thanks for the recipe. I would love receiving this gift. I made English Toffee for many years, but for some reason it hasn't turned out right the last few. My mother always made peanut brittle for gifts to her friends, she made the best. Have not heard of chocolate covered caramel corn, but it sounds delicious.

  4. What an awesome gift! Would you believe I've never made peanut brittle? I tend more toward chocolate, cut out sugar cookies, and candies that don't require use of a candy thermometer. Merry Christmas, Phyllis!

  5. I was just thinking yesterday I wish I had a good peanut brittle recipe someone I know has tried. Thank you!


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