Peanut chikki treat
A TRADITION in my family has always been to make Christmas goodies where possible. You save money at a time when it's tight, and everyone I know loves to receive a gift handmade with love.
I've made various nut toffees, or brittles, for years now and I have a soft spot for the burnt sugar base and crunchy nut clusters. I like almond, pecan and macadamia brittles, but this year I've tried something a little different.
India is famous for sweets; peanut chikki is the sub-continent's version of peanut brittle. It traditionally uses jaggery, a sugar most often made from cane. It's easily found in supermarkets or Asian food stores, but you can get a satisfactory result by substituting an equal amount of brown sugar with a little molasses added.
Do check the label if you find the real deal; occasionally it's made from palm sugar, so make sure it's sustainably sourced. Traditional recipes also use ghee, or clarified butter, but I've had good results using unsalted butter. As always, be careful when cooking sugar; it gets very hot.
- 500g skinless peanuts
- 150g (1 1/2 cups) jaggery OR brown sugar with 2 tbsp molasses added
- 60g (1/4 cup) ghee OR unsalted butter
- Extra ghee or butter to grease baking tray
- 2 tbsp pepitas
- Heat a heavy frypan over medium heat and add peanuts. Stir with a wooden spoon for 5-6 minutes until they are golden brown and fragrant. Don't allow them to burn. Remove from heat and pour out of the pan into a bowl to stop them cooking further.
- Grease a baking tray with the extra ghee or butter and set aside.
- Place frypan back on medium heat and cook jaggery and ghee together, stirring constantly, until it turns a dark brown. You should be able to smell when it's done, but you can test it by dropping a little into ice water and allowing to harden. It should be brittle. If you have a sugar thermometer, it should be at 120°C-130°C.
- Remove from heat and stir peanuts through, then immediately pour into the prepared baking tray, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with pepitas and cut into squares with a sharp knife before it completely hardens. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place.
Serves - 8