Monday, February 27, 2012

Health(ier) Peanut Brittle

IMG_3618e A very fortuitous thing happened yesterday morning, almost like it was meant to be.  Let me back up a bit and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.  If you’ve followed my Moments with Maisie blog you’ve read about our struggles with Maisie’s chronic nasal congestion.  We found out back in November that Maisie’s allergic to wheat, egg whites and dairy so we removed all those items from her diet and she seemed to be doing somewhat better.  The nasal congestion that was right in her nose cleared up and it wasn’t wet and blue up there anymore.  But unfortunately the removal of those foods did not completely clear up her condition and the congestion seemed further back in her sinuses.  There was a thought that her adenoids could be the problem but after a visit to an ENT that was ruled out.  Our next stop was the allergist who performed further allergy tests only to find out that there were no additional allergies.  He then sent her for a CT scan where they found that Maisie had a major infection in her sphenoid sinuses.  He put her on a 28 day course of Augmentin and then a probiotic was added to help with the stomach side effects.  By day six Maisie was suffering so much, unable to sleep more than four hours due to being so congested when she was laying down, the doctor started her on steroids to try to reduce the swelling and allow her sinuses to open up a bit and provide her some relief.  Sadly the steroids only seemed to affect her mood, focus and attention and didn’t do the trick in helping her sinuses so after the five day course something else needed to be done. 

Now that I’m medically qualified to make such decisions, thanks to my many consultations with Dr. Google, we are starting something new with Maisie.  I found out that certain foods contribute to chronic nasal congestion with the biggest culprits being wheat, dairy, refined white sugar & high fructose corn syrup.  Since we’ve already completely removed wheat and dairy from Maisie’s diet we decided to see what would happen if we also removed the white sugar and corn syrup…I mean it can’t hurt and hopefully, fingers crossed, this will help my sweet little Maisie Miao Miao

Now that you’ve slogged though my big long back story, let me get back to the fortuitous event that happened yesterday morning, well fortuitous for me and Maisie.  I was online looking up some recipes so that I could make something sweet and special for Maisie as many of her current treats contain the white sugar and/or corn syrup that we’re trying to cut out and she needs some treats and the calories that go along with them.  Up pops an email from Amanda saying that The Secret Recipe Club group ‘D’ hostess April, needed someone to step in and cook from a blog that was orphaned for today’s reveal when the original assignee backed out at the last minute.  Though I already posted my group ‘A’ Secret Recipe Club recipe this month, without a second thought I emailed that I was available and up for the task as I’d hate to see anyone in the group left orphaned without someone cooking from their blog.  Amanda messaged me the blog url and I set off, excited to see what I would be making.  I opened up Bean’s Without Adornment blog and was immediately mesmerized by her gorgeous photos.  Without even reading I started paging through just ogling the photos but I started noticing the words ‘gluten free’ and ‘vegan’ and my excitement built.  I stopped drooling over her photos long enough to click over to her recipe list and immediately started the happy dance when this came up on my screen: 

“Here are a compilation of all the recipes I have shared since I started this blog. I have done my best to indicate which common allergens are not in each recipe. Every recipe is gluten free unless otherwise indicated.

DF – Dairy Free
EF – Egg Free
RSF – Refined Sugar Free
SF – Soy Free”

Well WOOHOO!!! I was meant to find this blog and I knew that here I would find a sweet, Maisie “safe”, refined-sugar-free treat for my girl.  I scanned the recipe list and her codes and first looked at her Vegan Raspberry Bars.  The bars looked wonderful but I quickly realized that I didn’t have any of the various flours in the house and in all honesty, I’d be making them more for me than for Maisie as they’re more my taste so I moved on.  I then saw that she had a candy section with a recipe for Peanut Brittle which I knew would be something that Maisie would enjoy.  I opened up the recipe and it was perfect as it not only fit Maisie’s dietary needs but I had all the ingredients in my panty…Kismet!    

IMG_3548eCoconut oil and Agave in a small pot.

IMG_3552eBring to a boil.

IMG_3555eStir in the peanuts.

IMG_3556eAttach a candy thermometer to the pot and stir continuously.

IMG_3564e Once the mixture reaches hard crack (300F) it will be thick, remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda and salt being careful that the mixture doesn’t boil over. 

IMG_3566ePour the hot mixture onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. 

IMG_3587eChill the candy completely in the freezer.

IMG_3589eOnce the Peanut Brittle is set it’s easy to lift from the pan.

IMG_3598eMaisie, trying her Peanut Brittle.

IMG_3602e This candy was simple to make but I kept Maisie away from the process for fear of her getting splashed and burned so she was happy to help break the brittle.

IMG_3611eMaisie, delighted with her big bowl of Maisie “safe” Peanut Brittle.

IMG_3613e Health(ier) Peanut Brittle  (from here)

Measure agave and coconut oil into a small to medium sized pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the peanuts.  Stir continually for 20-30 minutes until you’ve reached hard crack temperature (300F).  Remove from heat and stir in salt and baking soda. It will be very frothy so be careful that it doesn’t bubble over.  Pour onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put into freezer for two hours to cool.  Once cool, break into pieces.  Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


My previous Secret Recipe Club Recipe Posts:

Crunchy Fudgy Heart Bites 
Texas Chicken with Lime Butter 
Pork Belly Soup with Collard Greens 
Thin Mint Irish Coffee 
Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies 
Welsh Cakes 
Nutella Crêpes 
Cilantro Lime Chicken 
Holy Guacamole 
Home Style Chicken Curry 


  1. I LOVE this. I <3 any nut brittle. Never even crossed my mind to make it healthier!

  2. yum! I love peanut brittle and i love the fact that it's a bit healthier. Pinning this. From a fellow SRC "D" group blogger

  3. Oh my goodness! I hope your little one feels better soon! I hate it when kids are sick, and as a mommy myself I know it makes you feel so terrible that you can't fix it! I hope the diet changes help some! And that is so amazing that you were able to receive the gift of this fantastic blog with food that you guys can eat together! The Peanut brittle looks amazing, and I am sure you guys really enjoyed it!

  4. Yes, Yes, Yes ! This looks fantastic. GF and uses Agave Nectar? Superb. cannot wait to try :)

  5. I hope Maisie feels better and the elimination of refined sugar helps her congestion. Looks like she loved the brittle and they do look pretty amazing! Great clicks!

  6. Love that 1000 watt smile over her big bowl of peanut brittle!

  7. This sounds like a great recipe, and I can see she approved it. Also, love the PJs, my daughter has the same ones. :)

  8. Truly Amaising Lisa! :o) I haven't had peanut brittle in ages. Your such a trooper for filling in! Fabulous photos, great recipe and one happy daughter!!!

  9. Another one of your health-ified delicious recipes that I must make! I am a sucker for anything with peanuts, especially in desserts. This brittle looks and sounds amazing!

  10. Haha I love the shot before it gets broken up - I'd want that piece all to myself ;-)

  11. Look at you in two different groups. This also looks great and I love that it fairly has any ingredients but they are all healthy... my kinda recipe. PS: Maisie is too cute!

  12. Hi Lisa! Maisie is such a doll! Great recipe that you made better for us! I know that I love all of the new healthier recipes that bloggers are including on their blogs! I remember you so well . . . . you were one of my top contributors to my weekly blog hop last year! I'm still following you and so glad to see that you're in the same group D as me for the SRC! I have only visited about 5 blogs today in between my job demands, but hope to get to all of the entries by evening.

    Keep up the great blog Lisa!

  13. Oh Lisa, I'm back! I just started following you on Pinterest and Twitter. Hope you would like to follow me back on both venues too!

  14. YUM! THis looks and sounds so delicious, I love that you put a little healthy spin on it of your own

  15. My this looks yummy Lisa! Thank you so much for stepping up and helping a fellow SRC sister. It is much appreciated.

  16. Lisa, what a wonderful post, Maisie is simply a Princess, with THE most beautiful smile in the world!

    Having also made a blog in a hurry yesterday - as you know.... :-) - I felt a rush of adrenaline when all was posted today

    Good luck figuring out what is affecting Maisie.... she is too precious to be sick...

  17. This looks great! I always have a hard time with recipes like this because I have a tendency to burn the sugar. It doesn't keep me from trying though :) I like the healthier substitutes you made for the recipe!

  18. That's some gorgeous peanut brittle.

  19. That's awesome you found something for Maisie!! Looks delicious. :)

  20. Looks like you have a great helper!

    Never made brittle before, def interested in trying it

  21. So generous of you to step in and what a fortuitous event it was indeed. Maisie's smile is amazing!! Thanks so much for stopping by and apologies for my late reply but I have been away travelling and just catching up now.

  22. Play around with a variety of ingredients to create crunchy peanut brittle with a variety of sweet, spicy and savory taste sensations.


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