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Spicy Peanut Brittle & Chocolate Cherry Bark for Holiday Care Packages

Spicy Peanut Brittle & Chocolate Cherry Bark for Holiday Care Packages

Lots of baking going on during the holiday season, but how much of that goodness can you ship as a gift and have it arrive fresh and in one piece?  Here are some sweet treats that ship well. I shipped them to my kids as winter care packages when they were in college. The thank you calls confirmed they were a hit with the suite-mates as well!

Peanut brittle, chocolate bark and bourbon caramels on a tiered candy dish
Spicy peanut brittle, chocolate bark for care packages
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Tips for Candy Making without being Intimidated

Sometimes candy-making is avoided because using a candy thermometer is a kitchen tool that isn’t used very often.  I rarely make candy, but all of the recipes below were pretty easy and they all turned out the first time around.

Two main things to be aware of that will help immensely:

  1. You have to work fast once the candy has reached the right temperature, so make sure and have all utensils, potholders & baking sheets prepped and ready;
  2. The candy gets really, really hot so be careful not to get any on your skin (it will burn).  Make sure the thermometer is secured well on the pot (an alligator clip works well for the round thermometers) so you don’t have to be moving it around;
  3. make sure the pot is the right size so the thermometer reaches down to the candy syrup;
  4. try to get someone to help you when it is time to pour it out onto a baking sheet.

Spicy Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Basket of spicy pumpkin seed peanut brittle
Basket of spicy pumpkin seed peanut brittle

Spicy Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Basket of spicy pumpkin seed peanut brittle
This is a delicious and unique peanut brittle that adds the smoky heat of chipotle spice and the seasonal crunch of pumpkin seeds for a holiday treat that lasts for a month. It’s great for holiday care packages or make-ahead holiday treats.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 12
Calories 240
Author dorothy stainbrook

Equipment

  • 10×15 baking sheet
  • Sauce pan
  • Candy thermometer
  • Slotted spoon

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup light
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted pumpkin seeds (1/2 cup saved out for the topping)
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder can use red pepper flakes if you don’t have chipotle
  • 1 tsp maldon sea salt a flake salt for topping

Instructions
 

  • Prepare a 10 x 15 rimmed baking sheet by lightly coating it with oil or lining it with foil.
  • In a heavy saucepan that will be the right depth for your candy thermometer to hang off the edge of the pot and still reach the bottom, mix together the sugar, corn syrup, butter and 2/3 cup water and stir until sugar is wet.
  • Clip the candy thermometer onto the pot and turn the heat to medium-high.  Let the mixture cook without stirring until the candy thermometer reaches 310°.  It will take about 13 to 15 minutes and the mixture will be foaming and tan around the edges.
  • Moving quickly, turn off the heat, remove the thermometer, and use a slotted spoon to whisk in the baking soda and salt.  It will foam up so be careful.  Stir in 1 cup of the pumpkin seeds and the chipotle spice.
  • Pour the brittle mixture from the pot onto the prepared baking sheet, tilting the pot to spread the brittle out over the baking sheet.  It cools quickly and it is messy to spread with a knife after it is poured, so try to get the brittle in a sheet the thickness you like as you pour.  Pouring instead of spreading will give it a smooth surface.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds and the flake salt evenly over the brittle.  Cool completely on the baking sheet at room temperature.
  • Invert the brittle onto a cutting board and use your hands to break it up into pieces.  The brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Nutrition

Calories: 240kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 1gFat: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 45g
Did you make this recipe?If you tried this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! To do this, just click on the stars above. And don’t forget to tag me at @dorothy_stainbrook_heathglen, if you share a picture on Instagram! You can also tag me at #heathglen!

 

Ritz Cracker Chocolate Bark

Sheet of ritz cracker chocolate and dried cherry bark
Sheet of ritz cracker chocolate and dried cherry bark

Ritz Cracker Chocolate Bark

Peanut brittle, chocolate bark and bourbon caramels on a tiered candy dish
This is a beautiful and unique holiday candy recipe that includes golden Ritz crackers, chocolate and dried cherries. With the help of a candy thermometer it is actually quite easy and it ships well in holiday care packages
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 12
Calories 421
Author dorothy stainbrook

Equipment

  • 10×14 baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Fairly deep sauce pot
  • Candy thermometer

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. Ritz crackers
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate melted
  • 1/2 cup dried Montmorency cherries tart cherries
  • 1/4 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts chopped (can substitute other nuts)
  • 2 Tbsp. chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp Maldon sea salt or other flake salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line a 10 x 14 inch baking sheet with parchment paper and using your hands, crumble the Ritz crackers onto the sheet to form a layer of crackers that extends to within about 1 inch of the baking sheet rims.  Toast in the oven about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.
  • In a saucepan that is deep enough to fit a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and still reach the bottom, heat up the sugar, honey and butter over medium-high, stirring occasionally until butter is melted.
  • Secure the thermometer onto the side of the saucepan (an alligator clip will hold some models of thermometers, but make sure it is secured).  Cook the mixture over med-high to high heat, whisking frequently, until  thermometer reads 300° (about 8-10 minutes).
  • Working quickly, turn off heat, stir in baking soda(it will bubble up), and pour out as evenly as possible over the Ritz cracker sheet.
  • Cool completely.  Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cooled cracker bark.  Immediately top with cherries, nuts, chocolate chips and sea salt (sprinkle the toppings onto the melted chocolate so they will stick).
  • Cool until chocolate has hardened (about 15 minutes) and break bark into pieces.  Wrap and keep chilled to store.

Nutrition

Calories: 421kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 4gFat: 23gFiber: 3gSugar: 29g
Did you make this recipe?If you tried this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! To do this, just click on the stars above. And don’t forget to tag me at @dorothy_stainbrook_heathglen, if you share a picture on Instagram! You can also tag me at #heathglen!

Other Sweet Treats that Ship Well in Care Packages

Here are a few other recipes of favorite treats that my kids have enjoyed in their college care packages:

Online Coaching

Although I am not currently taking clients for diet & health coaching, I have been a coach for many years with the online service called coach.me. It is a great platform for all kinds of coaching – anything from specific diets, writing a blog, getting up early, or getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Contact me at dsheathglen@gmail.com to get a referral to some of the tested, experienced online coaches on Coach.me

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