Have you seen the advertisements for Corn Sugar recently? Though I am not particularly fond of HFCS which is the most famous (by)product from corn but readily agree with what they say about sugar - sugar is sugar. The ill effects of sugar are the same no matter what the raw material for sugar is.
Of course cane sugar is much more expensive than sugar made form corn. Processed food manufactures have now resorted to printing bold letters saying "Made with Cane Sugar" like some sort of health claim.
It is amazing even with so much exposure lots of people still think eating fat free stuff is better than the full fat version. Couple of months ago I had a tough time explaining to a friend that fat free yogurt in this case was not all that better than the full fat version. She was adamantly convinced that fat free was better. The added sugar and other fillers more than make up for the lack of fat making it not all that better and maybe even worse.
Even among sugar not are made equal. The highly processed white sugar and corn sugar cause the same negative effects. 'Made with Cane Sugar' on a box of Oreos really does not make it a health food.
Unrefined sugars like jaggery on the other hand are a much better alternative. Jaggery contains minerals and iron besides sucrose while refined white sugar contains just sucrose and is in a state that is readily absorbed into the blood stream. Read this article Jaggery vs Sugar to get a better idea.
The taste of jaggery is far superior to that of white sugar and that is reason enough to use them more. I had left over jaggery after making kozhukattai and it was decided that some peanut candy would made with it.
The amount of sugar directly affects the brittleness of the candy. Lower the boiling point softer the candy will be. If you want brittle candy the sugar should reach candy stage. A little before that stage will lead to softer candy.
1. 3 cups of coarsely powdered roasted unsalted peanuts (see Note)
2. 1 3/4 cups of powdered jaggery (substitute with any other sugar)
3. 1 Cup water
4. 1 tsp of ghee
1. In a pan add the jaggery and just enough water to cover it. Let it heat up and the jaggery completely melt
2. Now filter the sugar solution through a cheese cloth to remove the dust and the hay particles
3.Clean the pan and return the filtered solution back to heat and let it come to a boil and bubble and check for thickness (keep a small cup of cold water, when a drop of the boiling sugar solution is poured it should not dissolve, for candy stage you should be able to roll the sugar into a ball)
4. Keep a greased (apply the ghee) plate ready to transfer the peanut sugar mixture
5. Add in the powdered peanuts and mix it into the sugar solution quickly
6. Transfer the contents onto the greased plate and smooth the top with a spatula. Make marks for the candy to be broken into pieces when it has cooled and set
Cool and transfer to an airtight container.
1. Split the peanuts and remove the small nodule on top which hold both the pieces together.