If you like nuts, this post is for you. If you like candy is that is just sweet enough to be dessert, but not so sweet that it makes your teeth hurt, this is also for you!
Meet peanut candy, Taiwan’s brilliantly concocted combination of peanuts and sugar! It tastes like peanuts with a unique sweetness and crunch, and is highly addicting..
The only special ingredient you’ll need is maltose, which is a very gooey liquid that you will have to wrestle out of the jar. My preferred method is to use a chopstick (or knife?) and dig into the maltose. Then, twirl the chopstick around and around until you have the right amount. The colder your measuring cup, the less likely the maltose is to get all gooey in it. Another option is to spray the measuring cup lightly with oil first.
|Find maltose in the section of the Asian grocery store where they sell types of sugar: I found this near the palm sugar, I think|
Peanut candy is so delicious on its own, but it’s even tastier in hua sheng juan bing qi lin (花生卷冰淇淋）, which is an ice cream burrito, if you will- a thin flour-based wrapped, stuffed with Taiwan-style ice cream (more similar to sorbet), shavings of this peanut candy, and cilantro (!? It’s really good! Trust me.)
My goal is to someday make this hua sheng juan bing qi lin, but the first step is to make a great peanut candy, which I feel I have done!
As with any recipe, but especially those involving caramelizing sugar(s）, please read the entire recipe all the way so that you can have your mise en place.
|First batch ever! 600 grams of peanuts|
hua sheng tang
100 grams water
70 grams white sugar
80 grams maltose (mai ya tang)
3 grams salt (1 tsp)
80 grams oil
250-600 grams peanuts (skin-on and raw, like those sold in Asian grocery stores)
10 grams raw white sesame seeds (1 Tbsp)- optional
1) Add water, sugar, maltose, and salt to large saucepan, and stir and cook over low heat until the sugar syrup is homogenous and just dissolved.
2）Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan, and cook over low heat as the sugar syrup slowly browns. You are also simultaneously roasting the peanuts with this step (via the hot oil), so make sure not to rush.
3) There are two ways to tell when the candy is ready:
a) When you place a peanut in a bowl of cold water, the surrouding syrup should be crunchy (hard ball stage).
b) The oil starts to separate from the peanuts and syrup, and the syrup is very browny (hello caramelization!).
4) Get ready! Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peanuts and as much of the caramel as you can, onto a Silpat or parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Use a spatula to spread the peanuts out into a one-peanut thick layer, and try to scoot the nuts over so they form a sheet. The caramel cools and hardens rather quickly, so work fast!
5) When the peanut candy is cool, blot the excess oil with a paper towel, then cut with a bench scraper, or break into pieces with your hands.
-There is a range of peanuts because of the many batches I made. 600 grams of peanuts will get you mostly peanuts, with a little bit of the maltose/sucrose caramel. It didn’t have enough caramel to hold all the peanuts together, like the giant blocks of peanut candy they have at hua sheng juan booths at night markets. 250 grams will give you a nice spread of both, but it favors the mahogany/browny matrix of caramel. I couldn’t tell much difference between 600 and 400 grams, and 100 grams was waaaay too much caramel! The 250 was almost there, so I would recommend 300 grams for what I would consider a good peanut:sugar ratio.
-My scale gets rather spotty for anything under 5 or so grams, so I prefer to go by volume for this one measurement.
|4th batch: 250 grams of peanuts|