Monday, December 15, 2008

Last-minutes gifts from your kitchen

Over at Larger Families, I've offered up 10 things you can cook up and give away this holiday season -- and not one of them is a bean-soup-mix-in-a-jar (though those can be good, too). I made another batch of the spiced pecans last night, and they disappeared before I could stuff them into the gift baskets I was making.

Here's a bonus recipe for you. I make this every year; the Persian-inspired flavors and delicate look make it different from your average brittle, and takes less than 10 minutes to make -- perfect for that last-minute gift for the neighbors.

Pistachio Brittle with Saffron and Cardamom

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup salted and roasted pistachios (that's 1 cup without the shells)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
large pinch saffron threads

- Set oven to 200 degrees.
- Put the pistachios in a medium-size bowl, add the cardamom. Rub the saffron threads between your palms to powder it, and add it to the nuts. Toss to coat, then set aside.
- Lightly spritz a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray. Set it in the oven to warm.
- Mix together the sugar, corn syrup and salt in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup.
- Microwave on high, uncovered, for 4 minutes. - Stir the sugar mixture, and microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 minute more. If mixture is not a pale gold color, microwave for 30 more seconds on high.
- Stir in the nuts. Microwave again, on high, uncovered, for 30 seconds.
- Pour molten candy onto warm, prepared tray, and use a buttered spoon or a silicone spatula to spread it as thinly as possible.
- Cool. Break into pieces

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