‘Tis the season

I’ve gotten off lightly when it comes to Christmas gifts for the rapidly growing guy – until this year.

Nobody had prepared me for the four-year-old scanning letterbox flyers for Christmas gift ideas. How the heck do you make a child understand that the jolly red guy can’t deliver everything he wants? And, more to the point, that he doesn’t “need” it all. Ideas for dealing with, and limiting, expectation gratefully received.


Gifts aside, I love Christmas. The older I get, the more Christmas is about loved ones – and, how many decorations I can cram into the lounge room. The answer to that is, quite a few. We’ve managed to squeeze three trees and a range of other bits and pieces (which may or may not have been acquired from the Ikea Christmas shop) into a relatively small space this year. Commercialism aside, I’m a Christmas-a-hoic so am in my happy place at this time of year.

On that note, I’ve been in a happy place most of the weekend. What a blast it’s been teaching Christmas Treats at Wellington High School. I was blessed with two class loads of energetic and competent students who turned out a whole load of sugar and chocolate laden treats to give away to loved ones.

It seems apt to share a few of the recipes – especially after requests for them. So, here we go, Christmas recipe number one. Peanut and sesame brittle. I’ve had mixed success with brittle over the years – this recipe tends to work way more often than it doesn’t. Just be sure to use a reputable brand of sugar (I choose Chelsea).

What you’ll need

450g (2C) sugar

125ml water

¼ tsp cream of tartar

60g butter, chopped into cubes

2 Tbsp golden syrup

250 g (1½ C) peanuts

40g (1/4 C) sesame seeds

½ tsp baking soda

How to make it

Line a tray with baking paper.


Combine the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a medium sized heavy bottom saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar has dissolved.


Bring to the boil and boil for eight-10 minutes until mixture turns golden brown and reaches “hard crack” stage – that is, that it turns into a hard ball and cracks when dripped into cold water. Note, that it may take longer than this.

I tend to “shake” and not stir the mixture when it is boiling. Watch it as it can burn quickly. While it is boiling, make sure the rest of the ingredients are measured and ready.


Remove from heat and stir in the butter and golden syrup, followed by the peanuts and sesame seeds.

Put back on the heat and stir for about two more minutes. Take off the heat and add the baking soda. Stir until completely mixed through.


Pour the mixture on to the prepared tray – use the back of a greased spoon or spatula to spread it out. Set aside to harden.


Break into pieces when completely cold and hardened (about two hours).

Store in an airtight container. If you are using as a gift, wrap as you need it.

Just three and a half weeks till the big day. Watch out for those half price decoration sales and whip out for extras to brighten up your place. And, while you’re out there, pick up some peanuts and sesame seeds for a batch or two of brittle. Just lock it away when it’s made, or you are likely to eat it before you get a chance to give it away!

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