Cooking Through "The Baker's Man": Peanut Brittle
One afternoon I decided it might be fun to combine my love of reading with my love of cooking. I thought I would start with my first published novel, The Baker’s Man, mainly because it’s full of baked goods, pastries, chocolates, and mouth-watering dishes. Another reason is because readers have asked me if I actually had recipes for some of the treats discussed in the book. And the answer is yes!
The main character, Anna O’Brien, owns a bakery, so each chapter in The Baker’s Man is titled with a baked good or a delicious sauce that can be served alongside or on top of a dessert. I chose the titles specifically so they would reflect what’s happening in the chapters.
The actions of hearts are described in myriad ways in fiction. Hearts drop through the floor, and they sink into stomachs. They flutter like caged birds. Hearts pound like the rhythm section of the band, and they stop cold.
Hearts also shatter like glass. However, Anna’s world is seen through the eyes of a baker. Therefore, her heart doesn’t shatter like glass; it shatters like peanut brittle, which is the title of chapter one.
The following recipe for peanut brittle was passed down to me from my daddy’s mama.
Grandma Billie’s Peanut Brittle
1 cup raw peanuts
1 cup white sugar
½ cup white karo syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
How to Make
Mix peanuts, sugar, karo syrup, and salt in a microwave safe bowl.
Cook in microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir.
Cook 4 more minutes.
Add butter and vanilla extract. Stir.
Cook 2 more minutes.
Add baking soda. Stir well.
Pour immediately on well-greased cookie sheet. Make as thin as possible. Caution: Mixture is extremely hot! Be careful!
Allow to cool. Break apart.
Again, be careful with the melted mixture. It will be extremely hot.
The mixture will stick to whatever bowl you choose to use. Give the bowl time to soak in water. Do not try to chip the leftover mixture from the bowl; this might cause damage to the bowl. The sugar mixture will dissolve if left in the water.