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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Spicy Pepita Brittle and some resolutions...

The last day of 2009. This year more than any feels like a new beginning. Things have not been easy in 2009. It was definitely a year of change and transition. I'm trying not to fight the Fairbanks life, and am coming to terms with the fact that this is where I live for now. I'm not one for resolutions, but there are some things I want to accomplish this next year.
I want to renew my adventurous spirit (hopefully this will renew a thinner spirit as well). I would like to complete three major hikes this summer: this one, this one and this one. I would also like to ride my bike to Chena Hot Springs from our house, spend the night and ride back. I have also been very curious about this as well and if it goes well, would like to try and train for this in 2011. In addition I am hoping to revive my creative spirit by taking some art classes at the University starting with ceramics this spring semester. I'm still hoping to expand the blog to include more than just food. I'm still trying to figure that out. Food alone does not make me a well rounded girl (well, actually it does and that is the problem).
So, I wish you all a Happy New Year! Good luck with those resolutions. Don't forget to enjoy the blue moon tonight. Here's to a spicier new year...

This Pepita Brittle is great on a salad of mixed greens and gorgonzola with a simple white wine vinaigrette. It was supposed to be included on our Christmas dinner menu, but it took me several tries to get the recipe right, this is a good one. Keep an eye on the heat as once it gets to 300 degrees, the temperature really shoots up fast.

Spicy Pepita Brittle
adapted from Brittles, Barks, and BonBons
Butter, for pan
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups pepitas

Lightly butter a 10-by-15-inch jelly-roll pan and place parchment on bottom of pan, lightly butter parchment as well.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, water, and corn syrup until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and boil without stirring until the syrup is golden brown (about 335°F [168°C] on a candy thermometer), 10 to 15 minutes. When the sugar begins to brown around the edges of the pan, swirl the pan gently so that it caramelizes evenly. Quickly remove from the heat and carefully stir in the pepitas, cayenne, and salt.
Immediately pour into the prepared pan, using a spatula or wooden spoon to spread the nuts out flat if necessary. Let the brittle stand at room temperature until cool and hard, about 1 hour. Chop or break into chunks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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