Chinese New Year is today, Monday, January 23, 2012; and it will be the beginning of the year of the Dragon. I’m pretty excited this year because my parents are here and we get to celebrate it together for the first time after a long time being apart. This type of celebration is truly felt different when is experienced with family members. Everything seems more festive, happier, and has truer meaning.
My mom has already planned to cook quite an array of dishes at the end of the week. But unfortunately she and my dad had to fly to California for their friend’s memorial. So the plan of eating my mom’s cooked Chinese-Indonesian meal was scraped off, but instead we were invited for a Chinese New Year dinner yesterday by one of my friends. Since she’s a Chinese-Indonesian, unsurprisingly we found dishes that we’re familiar with. These were not fancy dinner but nevertheless, they tasted delicious. If this is an indication of what the year forecasted to be, I love it!
I’ve a chance to make sesame seed brittles this week for a friend and I’ve some left for me. Sesame seed symbolizes abundance among the Chinese and it’s used prominently in Chinese cuisine. I’m not superstitious but I love eating things with sesame seeds. Just last year I made sesame seed balls and those were yummy!
Here’s the recipe for sesame seed brittles and a Happy Chinese New Year to you!
Sesame Seed Brittle
Makes about 1 1/2 pounds
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 cups lightly toasted sesame seeds
Lightly spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Dissolve the baking soda and salt in the vanilla extract and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, stir together the sugar, water, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup butter until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted. Increase the heat and boil, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon, until the mixture turns a deep golden brown and measures 335° to 340° on a candy thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully (the mixture will bubble up) stir in vanilla mixture and peanuts.
Immediately pour into the prepared pan. If necessary, use a spatula or lightly sprayed wooden spoon to spread the mixture flat. Let stand at room temperature until cool and hard, about 1 hour.
Bend the ends of the pan to release the brittle (run a spatula underneath the brittle to help release it, if necessary) and chop or break into chunks. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Source: Brittles, Barks, and Bonbons: Delicious Recipes for Quick and Easy Candy by Charity Ferreira