That’s our motto.
And I am constantly in search of the next best hostess gift.
We were invited to our newest neighbor’s home for a cocktail party recently. I searched, and searched, for ideas of something new to bring. We have never met this couple. They built their home in the last lot of our neighborhood, which happens to be right across our tree line, so our closest neighbors! They have just recently moved in and we are excited to finally meet them.
If they are anything like us, they don’t “need” anything else. So something consumable is where I started my search. After reading so many comments and reviews I decided to go with The Barefoot Contessa’s Salted Caramel Nuts. Is there anything that Ina makes that is not perfectly delectable??? When gifting food, I always worry about all the different allergies… Gluten, corn, soy, eggs… Of the top eight most common allergies nuts is the only reactor in this one. A bonus that is is quite obvious that there are nuts in it!
I followed the recipe exactly and only wish she had given a temperature to boil the sugar to. The first batch got stringy, but was delicious. The second batch wasn’t stringy but clouded a bit as it cooled. Both perfectly delicious with the perfect crunch. I just like the science of cooking. Give me a number and I will nail it every time. Cook for 5-10 minutes seemed vague. I know it depends on the size pan you use, size of your flame… but still.
Hint: Take it off on the light side of browning.
Tip two: Pay attention to your pan size for the four cups of nuts. Change your pan size if you plan on doing a half batch
Tip three: Keep your pan on the stovetop as you add the nuts and stir. I think cooling too fast caused the clouding. Stringing because I cooked it a smidge longer than I should have. Just guessing on both points but if any of you candy makers know for sure I would love to know the whys and wherefors.
Tip four: Watch the video “before” you start
I had a better feel for what I was looking for after I watched it.
I love the look of the fleur de sel sprinkling on after it was finished but still warm. It is worth it to search it out. I searched at several local shops and couldn’t find any. That is until I came home I went through my own cupboards only to find I had bought some, in France, and had never opened it! No need to search for it in France, it is the very same one that is on Amazon.
I packaged the finished product using the free labels I found at On Sutton Place. I am a new reader to Ann’s blog and she has so many neat ideas, I am happy to have found her. These were exactly what I was looking for. I printed them on cardstock, then I hiked out through the 15″ of fresh snow (that my tall boots were not tall enough to be hiking in) and clipped a piece of fresh greenery to use. I dug up a tiny cluster of artificial pine cones amongst my Christmas wrappings. Now wishing I could remember where they came from.
I picked up this one quart container at Cost Plus World Market. I should have bought extras they were only $3.99. You never know when you are going to need a quick gift and this was the perfect container for this one. This recipe filled it with some left over for our snacking pleasure!
Wishing your heart to be full of Gratitude and Joy this Holiday Season!
Without that what do we have???