Looking for a sweet way to do your fruits 'n nuts? Why not candy them? This is an awesome way to treat yourself in front of the tv on a lazy afternoon or to treat your guests at a family/ friendly get- together.
For a sweet, natural candy treat, try making your own crystallized pineapple. Crystallizing fruit is a process that's been around for centuries, making the perishable fruit harvest edible throughout the winter. Home cooks made crystallized fruit often around the turn of the 20th Century; like most old-fashioned recipes, it's a time consuming process that can be sped up a bit with modern appliances. Still, true crystallized pineapple will take several days to make. That being so; it does also make an awesome christmas or birthday gift; like Horace Slughorn's reaction shows in Harry Potter!
Things You'll Need:
2 lbs sugar (1kg)
2 cooking pots
Food dehydrator (optional)
Remove the top and bottom of the pineapple. Skin and core the fruit, then slice it into 1/2-inch thick slices.
Combine 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar in a cooking pot.
Heat the sugar and water, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a boil and reads 235 F (112 C) on a candy thermometer. Add the pineapple to the pot and allow it to simmer for 1 hour.
Allow the syrup to cool, then place the pot in the refrigerator overnight.
Drain the pineapple. In the cooking pot, bring another 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar to a boil. Add the pineapple to the pot, simmer for 1 hour, cool and refrigerate overnight again.
Repeat the draining, mixing sugar water, boiling, cooling and refrigerating overnight a third time.
Drain the pineapple a fourth time. Lay the slices on a cooling rack on top of a foil-lined cookie sheet. Place the pineapple in a 200 F (93 C) oven to dry for at least 4 hours. Alternatively, dry the pineapple in an electric dehydrator according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Tips & Warnings
For a quicker version, use canned pineapple and dry the slices after step 3.
The boiling sugar syrup gets extremely hot. Protect your skin when working with it and do not allow it to overheat.
2 cups whole nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Place a piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a flat surface or baking sheet. (DO NOT USE WAXED PAPER!!! If you don't have parchment or silicone, you can use a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray.)
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add the sugar and nuts.
Cook while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and turns a golden brown. (You may still see some sugar crystals that haven't melted--it's okay.)
Remove pan from heat and add vanilla extract. (It will bubble up.) Stir vigorously.
Turn the hot nuts out onto the prepared surface. Spread nuts out evenly. Cool completely before using or eating.
Lovely and easy, hey! The girls and I made our own candied nuts. We used cashews; they're very popular in our house! Why not try out these recipes this weekend?! Have a great one, peeps and see ya'll on Monday again!!!
Chef Shants xxxxx