Puff corn

At our house, you might say that we have added another food group: snacks.

We have always enjoyed snacks of all kinds while we are watching football or one of our favorite programs on television. Snacks are also good to have on hand for the grandchildren when they come by for a visit.

Perhaps snacks are not always a good alternative to fruits, but they are so good that I sometimes overlook the lack of nutritional value.

Years ago, I worked in Manhattan at a cooking school. It was primarily a French cooking school but we had other specialty classes, including an Asian class taught by Loh Mooi Kwei, (better known to our staff as Rosa Ross).

Rosa shared a wonderful Chinese snack with us. I feel sure that her Deep Fried Sweet Crescents will certainly become a family favorite with young and old alike.

You can vary the filling by changing the dried fruits. Instead of dried apricots, you can use dried apples or peaches. Raisins or dried cranberries can replace the currants.

A few years ago, when I was told that I could no longer eat popcorn due to a health problem, I was very upset, because popcorn was my favorite snack. I especially liked the caramel corn that our family always brought home from the Smoky Mountains.

I was thrilled when a member of one of our cooking classes brought me something that tasted very similar to caramel corn. Of course, I asked for the recipe. She makes this specialty using the puff corn that you can buy in the potato chip section of the supermarket.

Remember...A snack every once in a while is not so bad, so enjoy!

DEEP FRIED SWEET CRESCENTS

  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • ½ cup currants
  • ¼ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ¼ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, roasted in a dry wok (or skillet)
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • Oil for deep frying

In a bowl, mix together dates, currants, apricots, peanut butter, brown sugar, salt and sesame seeds. This is your crescent filling.

If your wonton wrappers are square, cut them into circles approximately 3 inches in diameter. You can do this easily with a biscuit cutter.

Place a scant teaspoonful of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold over, sealing with water. Continue until all filling is used. Place crescents on tray or cookie sheet that has been liberally floured.

Do not let them stick together. Heat oil and deep fry crescents. Cool slightly before serving. You can dust them with confectioners sugar, if desired.

CARAMEL PUFF CORN

  • 3 (3.5 ounce) bags butter-flavored puff corn
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Spray large roasting pan or two 9x13-inch pans with oil. Combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir constantly while bringing to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow to boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. This mixture will foam. Stir until blended. Pour over puff corn. Stir to coat well. Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes. Allow to cool and store in airtight containers.

Contact Prudence Hilburn at prudencehilburn@aol.com.

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