It seems I’ve caught a bad case of Cabin Fever. Now I can sit here and try to ignore it until I do something desperate or… Road Trip! Yep, I like road tripping as much as Earthworm Jim. The difference though, mine usually don’t end at a Giant Fur Bearin Trout. Although that would be pretty awesome! Road trips do run the risk of being a bit long and tiring, but they’re really the best way to experience all the wonderfully weird things out there. I’ve yet to visit the World’s Biggest Scab or the First Speed Bump in the Northern Hemisphere, but I have been to museums about vacuum cleaners and beans. And there’s nothing better about a road trip than stopping off at a tourist trap covered with signs promising clean bathrooms and grabbing yourself a nut log. Some of them do put up a bit of a fight, but I haven’t had to boil a nutty delight to soften it. Or run it over. Or shoot it.
That’s one of the things I love about Earthworm Jim, though. The show is so surreal but also super believable. Nut logs are obstinate roadside delicacies, but you just can’t resist buying them again and again and risk breaking your teeth each time. Maybe Peter Puppy is right when he says that a nut log’s true purpose is to anchor ships in a heavy storm. Still, it’s not going to stop me from trying to make and EAT one.
Recipe makes 10 nut logs
1 cup sugar
½ cup corn syrup
¼ cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
½ cup heavy cream, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature- cut into chunks
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups Pecans, most or all chopped (There are some pecan halves on Jim’s nut log, but coating them in just chopped pecans is fine.)
Melted butter, Spray butter, or butter-flavored cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F,
Spread out the pecans on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spray the pecans with a little butter or butter-flavored cooking spray. Toast the pecans in the oven for 5 minutes. You should be able to smell them when they’re finished. Keep a close eye on the pecans while they’re in the oven since they tend to scorch easily. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Lightly grease an 8 X 8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine water, corn syrup, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and continue to cook, without stirring, until it reads 260 degrees F. When the syrup reaches about 240 degrees F, beat the egg whites in a stand mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks just form. When the syrup reaches 260 degrees F, immediately take the syrup off the heat. With the mixer on medium, pour the syrup into the egg whites. When all of the syrup is in the bowl, increase the mixer’s speed to high. Add the vanilla extract and whip the mixture until the texture loses its shine and becomes rough, 10-20 minutes.
Pour the divinity into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a lightly greased spatula. Chill until set, 30 minutes-1 hour. Cut the divinity into 10 pieces and roll them into 4-inch logs. Place the logs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for at least 2 hours.
In a saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Place over high heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 230 degrees F. Reduce heat to medium and cook, without stirring, until the syrup mixture is golden. When the syrup reaches close to 300 degrees F, gently stir. Continue to cook until the syrup turns dark amber and closes in on 350 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir, and let sit for a couple minutes. Slowly add heavy cream, butter, and salt. The mixture will bubble, so be careful. Return the saucepan to the stove and stir until the butter is completely melted. Cook over medium heat until it reaches 255 degrees F. Remove from heat.
Putting It All Together:
Remove the logs from the freezer. One log at a time, dip them in the hot caramel with tongs or a fork. Once fully coated, move them to the pecan-covered baking dish. If you want pecan halves on your nut logs, stick them in place now. Proceed to roll the logs in the chopped pecans until completely covered. Chill the finished nut logs until set, 30 minutes-1 hour. Enjoy!
Good news! These nut logs aren’t like the ones at the Nutlog Palace. They are light (My noodle arms have no trouble lifting them.) and can actually be eaten. Every last one of my teeth is still safely snug in my mouth. I wouldn’t recommend throwing them around, but I’m almost confident that they can’t K.O. anyone. Earthworm Jim’s battle with the impudent nut log ended in a “draw,” but I think I won this round. Too bad I have to quit while I’m ahead because I really just can’t handle haggis.
Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!