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Cook's Notes

November 02, 1995|SYLVIA THOMPSON

Ever make your own peanut butter? It's a cinch and a fascinating rainy-day project for children. Shell raw peanuts, saving the shells for the garden; they make terrific mulch. Roast the peanuts on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven, stirring occasionally, until you can smell them. Lightly sprinkle with salt while they're hot, then cool them. Grind in a blender, drizzling in a thread of peanut oil to make the paste spreadable. Heaven.

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George Washington Carver, the brilliant African American scientist, created more than 300 products from the peanut, including cheese, flour and ink. I'll bet Carver loved his peanut nougat--the easiest confection of all.

Chop shelled and skinned roasted peanuts medium-fine, taking care to stop before they turn to butter. Lightly salt. In a heavy skillet, melt half as much sugar as peanuts, stirring constantly until it becomes syrup. Remove from the heat and blend in the peanuts, then pour immediately onto a buttered marble slab or into a buttered baking pan. The nougat on the slab can be broken into odd pieces once cold, but the candy in the pan should be marked into diamonds or squares while still hot.

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