And even today as an adult, having crossed 2 decades and now closing to my 3rd decade, I have not run out of love and cravings for them. Seriously, I am hooked to it. I walk up to the snack counter at my work place, almost daily, just to grab a few pieces of these nutty caramelized peanut bars, post my lunch, to relish a healthy favorite treat. Of course, they come from a known manufacturer and I like to bite into their fresh, crisp polythene wrapped bite sized portions. It's an alternative for healthy dessert. And at a gullible price of Rs 1 for a piece each, I can't ask for anything better than this to satisfy my sweet cravings.
I am sharing this recipe which I got to learn from my mother, her way.
Caramelized Peanut Bars / Chikki
2 cups peanuts
1 cup regular sugar
1-2 tbsps. ghee/ clarified butter
1 tsp. cardamom powder
1 tsp. ginger powder (optional)
Grease a flat steel plate with some ghee and set aside.
Roast the peanuts on a medium low flame, stirring frequently till they change their color to golden brown and become aromatic.
Take the sugar in a kadai or a heavy-bottomed pan. Heat it on a medium low flame stirring continously till the sugar melts and begins to turn golden brown. At this stage we need to keep a constant eye on the sugar syrup. When all of the sugar melts completely, switch off the flame and add in the peanuts quickly. You need to be swift and quick here. Just before you stir in the peanuts, add in the cardamom and ginger powder. Quickly stir all of the peanuts into the sugar, mix well and transfer it to the greased plate. Smooth the prepared chikki with the back of a flat wooden spoon. Using the tip of a knife, drag lines across to form sqaure/bite sized pieces. Allow to cool then break them off.
These can also be made with jaggery as well. Infact, traditionally I believe jaggery was used. Jaggery takes more time generally than sugar and getting right consistency is a bit tougher than that with sugar.
These chikkis can be stored for a couple of days in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place. I have made similar chikkis with Til/Sesame in the past. I could cut them into prefect squares, however this time around I delayed a bit and couldn't get them in desired shapes. Nevertheless, they taste great. So who's complaining!