crackers8_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

When I was little Christmas Eve at our house was an all-day festive open house. We just left out a table full of food and mixed up drinks as dictated by whoever wanted in. We never knew who would show up, it was always a nice surprise as people walked in and out. We didn’t even send out invitations, it was a small town and everyone just knew they were welcome to stop by that day.

Even though you probably entertain in a more formal way, it’s always nice to think of a few new things as a surprise in addition to the old favorites – even if you do something as simple as wine and cheese. Along that line I’m revisiting my former cheeseboard post, and finished up the forgotten salted caramel pepita recipe.  It is based on several other recipes that have appeared online via Smitten Kitchen and babble.com. The other cheeseboard posts include:

Several of my cheese accompaniments are on the sweet side, and it makes me think of the traditions in India where one starts a new venture with something sweet to eat – a perfect way to bring in the new year with all its ventures.

Salted Caramel Pepitas, Makes about 1-1/2 cups

2 c. sugar (1 c. white sugar, 1 c. brown sugar)
6 T.  salted butter
1/3 c.light corn syrup
3/4 t.baking soda
2 t. sea salt
1 1/2 c. raw, unroasted pepitas

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it lightly. Combine the sugars, butter, corn syrup and water in a deep pan and heat, stirring constantly. Cook until thick.

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When it is golden brown (shown above), quickly whisk in the soda and salt. Be careful with this because it will foam up. Stir in the pepitas.

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Pour it onto the parchment and spread it out. You can let it cool completely and break it into pieces like regular peanut brittle, or cut it while it’s still warm into more regular shapes. Once it’s cool store it in an airtight container until ready to use. This is also something that would be nice to package up and include in a gift basket!

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PS: Did you notice the new page? I’ve copied my holiday cookie baking list onto one page for easy reference. Just see “Holiday Cookies” at the top of the page!

One year ago: Candy Cane Bites

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