“bye-eee”

April 21st, 2011

When Chelsea and Conor were little – about a million years ago – peanut allergies had not yet been invented. I mean it. Yes, there was the occasional kid with a lactose intolerance but I didn’t know anyone whose child was allergic to peanuts. And thank god, because in Chelsea’s case peanut butter was one of the few things she would reliably eat.

Fast forward 12 years and it’s a whole new world. One where you may have to wait – based on your pediatrician and your own tolerance – up to 4 years before introducing peanut butter for the first time.

What’s up with THAT?!?!?!

I don’t mean to be glib – we have a close friend whose son was rushed to the emergency room, having stopped breathing after his first exposure to peanuts. So when Noah’s pediatrician explained at his 1-year check up that we would need to wait  6 to 12 months before he could try peanut butter I accepted this new reality – reluctantly.

At 22 months Noah had already been eating other kinds of nuts – walnuts, almonds and cashews – and loved them. So Mike didn’t think much of it when he gave him some trail mix that contained peanuts. Sure enough, he got blotchy all over and promptly threw up (sorry……). A battery of tests soon confirmed that Noah indeed had a peanut allergy – mild but nonetheless enough that we would have to carry epi pens and pre-measured Benedryl spoons around for the foreseeable future. We were now “those parents” .

Of course, the allergy doctor told us that there is now a reversal in the trend, going back to exposing kids earlier rather than later –  new studies concluding  that the longer one waits the higher the probability of an allergic reaction. Noah’s doctor assured me that his test results indicated that he would have had a reaction at any age.

Right.

I was cleaning out my pantry recently and came across a jar of peanuts – last used for one of the many batches of peanut brittle that I make for holiday gifts. It was on a high shelf – out of Noah’s reach –  but I now looked at this once innocent jar as a lethal weapon, out to harm my baby boy. So I made a (sniffle) final batch of brittle, wrapped it up to give to a friend that  needed a sweet treat and said (click on picture),

I usually shy away from recipes in the “candy” category – I’m not much for thermometers and recipes containing phrases like “soft ball” or “hard crack”. None of that here. This recipe simply requires watching for the right color to appear and promptly taking it off the heat. Hopefully Noah will outgrow his allergy with time and I can bring this little recipe back into the fold. Till then, enjoy it for me, will you?

Peanut Brittle
adapted from New York Magazine

for baking tips and tricks – go here

2 c (400 g) sugar
1 stick butter
1/3 c light corn syrup
1/2 c + 2 T water
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 T salt
12 oz dry roasted salted peanuts

Line a baking sheet with a Silpat (or grease generously). Coat a wooden spoon, wire whisk and metal spatula with a non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam). Measure the baking soda and salt into 2 small bowls before continuing.

Combine sugar, butter, corn syrup and water in a large saucepan – stir till sugar is wet. Cook, without stirring, over high heat till mixture turns medium golden. Immediately remove from heat and whisk in the baking soda, followed by the salt. Using your wooden spoon stir in the peanuts. Pour the mixture onto the prepared pan and spread it out using your spatula. Let cool completely and break into pieces.

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