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November 5th, 2012

Brittle vs. buttercrunch

Candymakers, I have a question.

I am planning to make a candy with tropical nuts (Brazil, cashew, macadamia), and I am wondering what recipe to use to create something similar to a brittle or buttercrunch. However, in my search I have also encountered buttercrunch recipes, and it's set me to wondering: Is there actually a difference between a brittle, and a buttercrunch?

Brittle, by definition, is a hard sugar candy, usually with nuts, stretched thin. Buttercrunch is not really defined in a specific way from what I have found, and the recipe components are usually similar to those of a brittle - sugar, some water, , corn syrup, butter, a little baking soda, some vanilla - with the exception that buttercrunch often seems to include a layer of chocolate coating. Some buttercrunch recipes seem to include more butter, which perhaps influences the name; but some brittle recipes call for more butter than others, so it doesn't seem to be the deciding factor.

So, lacking a hard-and-fast difference by definition, is it safe to say that buttercrunch and brittle are more or less the same thing?

"Hexensuppen" or Witches' Soup

auronsgirl posted a Hexensuppen Recipe to the cooking community a couple of years ago. it took me a while to get around to trying it. And I made some changes.

Does anyone know more about this dish? Is it German or Hungarian? I found a similar recipe for Hungarian Mushroom soup but all the recipes for Hexensuppen seem to be German.

Witches’ Soup (Hexensuppen)

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lbs. beef roast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (or ground beef)
2 med. onions, chopped
12-14 oz mushrooms, quartered
1 (22-32 oz jar) pickled salad (cabbage, cucumbers, red peppers, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic, in vinegar)
1 (11 oz) tin mandarin orange slices with juice
1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes (or one 6oz can tomato paste)
24 oz beef broth
3 Tablespoons paprika
salt & pepper to taste
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
Tabasco sauce, to taste

Heat oil in Dutch oven or stockpot until hot. Cook and stir beef and onions in hot oil until brown. Add mushrooms, Pickled Salad (drain and reserve liquid), orange slices with juice, diced tomatoes, paprika, and broth. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer at least 1 hour.

Remove soup from heat and add cream cheese and cream, stirring until cream cheese melts. taste and adjust seasoning (you can add some of the reserved pickle juice at this point if you want). Turn heat to low and return the soup to the heat, simmering for 15-30 minutes more. Serve hot.

"Hexensuppen" or Witches' Soup, is a beef and tomato based soup with pickled vegetables and cream cheese. It is usually touted as a quick party soup that can be made from stuff you have in your pantry (if you are German). I've looked through some recipes online and tried to come up a version that works with my usual cooking style and the ingredients I have access too. Since I don't usually have pickled mixed vegetables on hand frozen mixed vegetables and some vinegar might be a good substitution. Or a small jar of sauerkraut and some fresh vegetables.

I was not able to find the Hungarian mixed pickled salad (puszta salat) it called for, so I used Italian Giardiniera. The recipe called for adding all the pickle juice from the pickled salad. Hungarian pickled salad is shredded, giardiniera is chunky, so there was probably more vinegar then expected. The soup tasted like sauerbraten, good but maybe better with less vinegar. I did not add any additional salt. There was enough salt in the pickle juice.


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