Arsip Tag: brittle
Saying that you don’t usually care for brittle because it is, well, awfully brittle is definitely grounds for mockery.
But it’s true! I can’t tell you how unappealing I find stained glass-like sheets of amber caramel that you’re supposed to willingly bite into. You either get alarmingly sharp shards that stab you like a serial killer on the loose in your mouth, or it gets so gunked into the scoop of your molars, it takes a chisel to extract it.
Right, so where were we? My grievances with brittle in no way mean it can’t be good, just that it’s usually not. And previously, I never liked the stuff enough to find The Recipe, the one that will be all you need. Fortunately, with such inspiration as Luisa and Karen Demasco, this was perfect on the first try: buttery with an awesome depth of flavor that came from some accidental slightly overcooking and sea salt. Taking a bite, the pepitas just crackle within the caramel, and not so hard that it shatters everywhere.
This stuff is seriously good, and do you want to know how, above all else, that I know this? Not even once did my husband suggest it could be improved with chocolate.
Want more pumpkin inspiration? Check out our archive of pumpkin and winter squash recipes.
One year ago: Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
Two years ago: Ina Garten’s Cole Slaw
Adapted liberally from Karen Demasco of Craft and Craftbar via NYMag.com and Wednesday Chef
You can make this brittle with anything: peanuts, cashews or another nut, sesame instead of pumpkin seeds or perhaps even your leftover pumpkin seeds from your jack-o-lantern (not that I’ve tested that out, so do let us know if it works for you). But I love it with pepitas because they’re light and crisp, and with a tiny air pocket in the middle, they snap, crackle and pop delightfully when they hit the hot syrup.
The best part of this is that you don’t need to use a candy thermometer, you can simply eyeball it.
Vegetable-oil spray or 1 teaspoon butter, for lining the tray
2 cups sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) salted or unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons to 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse or flaky sea salt (use less if you’re using salted butter)
1 1/2 cups of raw, unroasted pepitas (they toast in the syrup) or 12 ounces (3/4 pound) roasted, salted nuts, not chopped
Line a 12x16x1/2-inch sheet baking pan with parchment paper and lightly coat it with vegetable spray or butter.
Put the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water to a large saucepan, and stir together until all the sugar is wet. Cook over high medium-high, but watch it carefully as it will foam up quite a bit and you might need to dial back the heat to medium until it begins to thicken.
Once the mixture turns a medium golden (takes at least 10 minutes) immediately remove from the heat, and carefully whisk in the baking soda followed by the salt (taking care, as the caramel will rise in the pan and bubble some more). Switch to a wooden or metal spoon, and fold in the pepitas or nuts.
Quickly pour the mixture onto the sheet pan, and spread it out over the pan using the back of the spoon before it starts to harden. Alternately, you can slide the parchment paper out of the baking pan and onto a counter, cover it with another sheet, and use a rolling pin, pressing down hard, to roll it out as flat and thin as you would like.
At this point you can either let it cool completely (pulling off the top sheet of parchment, if you use the rolling pin technique) and break it into bite-size pieces with the back of a knife or other blunt object or, while it is still fairly hot and pliable, cut it into a shape of your choice (I went for long, thinnish strips) and let the pieces cool, separated on parchment paper.
The brittle can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to two weeks. I like to separate the pieces between layers of parchment or waxed paper, as a little humidity can cause them to stick together.
Does anyone remember Garbage Pail Kids? Can I go predictably off-course here and admit, as I just did to my husband, who is now cracking up, that I was kind of scared of them when they came out? It was 1985! I was young! I was super into Cabbage Patch Kids and definitely did not have a grasp of parody and was this… something that could happen to a Cabbage Patch Kid? I mean, was it going to happen to mine? Why did everyone find them so funny? Ahem, right, so of course I now find them dark and brilliant, which should be no surprise given that they were co-invented by Art Spiegelman, something I learned exactly five minutes ago from Wikipedia but will now pretend I knew all along.
I bet you’re thinking, as per usual, “What on earth does this have to do with cooking, Deb? Focus, please!” But what I’d wanted to tell you is that for nearly eight years now, I’ve an item on my Halloween To-Cook List called “Garbage Pail Brittle,” which I’d hoped would invoke the chaos of the cards but in a less haunting to elementary school kids format. My theory was that, sure, peanut, almond and fancy seed brittles are lovely and elegant, but you know what would be even more awesome? Rice crispies. Potato chips. Pretzels. Because everyone knows that salt, crispy snacky stuff is aces against caramel, butter and chocolate.
Well, the good news is that I finally got this item off my to-cook list so you don’t have to. The bad news is that potato chips and crispy rice? Just okay in brittle. I mean, nobody hated it, but it wasn’t as special as the eight-year build-up warranted. Pretzels, however… you need to do this. Pretzels are deeply delicious when brittled. They even more spectacular when mixed with salted peanuts. They’re even more insanely good when lidded with melted dark chocolate, smashed into chunks with a hammer and tucked in a container that is, thankfully, about 15 feet outside my reach right now or I’d be one of those wicked, wicked people who lies to children, such as my own, who I lectured this morning about why we can’t have candy for breakfast. I mean, phew.
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One year ago: Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Cider Vinegar
Two years ago: Potato and Broccolini Frittata
Three years ago: Apple Cider Caramels
Four years ago: Pear Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble
Five years ago: Buckeyes
Six years ago: Baked Chicken Meatballs
Seven years ago: Pink Lady Cake and Cabbage and Mushroom Galette
Eight years ago: Cranberry Caramel and Almond Tart
Nine years ago: Easiest Baked Mac-and-Cheese
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Crispy Broccoli with Lemon and Garlic
1.5 Years Ago: Lamb Meatballs with Feta and Lemon
2.5 Years Ago: Spring Vegetable Potstickers
3.5 Years Ago: Cinnamon Toast French Toast
4.5 Years Ago: Sour Cream Cornbread with Aleppo
Chocolate Peanut and Pretzel Brittle
A few notes: You can replace the peanuts with pretzels if nut allergies are a concern. I have only made this with corn syrup and/or golden syrup but theoretically, honey
and/or maple syrup (early comment responses on maple syrup: not positive) as a replacement should work as well because the quantity is so small. I didn’t do it here, but thought it might be fun to play around with replacing the water with beer (you could use up to 1/2 cup) for a more grown-up flavor.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup or golden syrup
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup broken-up chunks of thin salted pretzels
3/4 cup roasted salted peanuts
3/4 to 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Either grease a large cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Get all of your other ingredients ready; you’re going to need to add them quickly in a few minutes, and you won’t have time to hunt and measure.
Combine sugar, corn or golden syrup and water in a medium saucepan, stirring just until sugar is wet. Attach a candy thermometer and heat over medium-high heat, without stirring, until mixture reaches between 300 and 305 degrees F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you’re looking for a small amount of the mixture dropped into cold water to separate into hard, brittle threads. This takes exactly 9 minutes on my stove.
Remove from heat and quickly stir in butter (until it melts), baking soda, peanuts and pretzels until all are coated. Pour quickly out onto prepared pan. Use a spatula or, even better, two forks to pull and stretch the mixture as flat as you can get it, working quickly. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let rest for 5 minutes so that they soften. Once they are all soft, use a spatula to spread them over the brittle.
None of us has time or patience for waiting for these to cool, right? I put them directly in the freezer for 20 minutes, after which point the chocolate is firm, the base is cold and I get to bash the brittle into bite-sized chunks. (I like to lift pieces up onto the rim of the baking sheet and use something heavy to break them from there. I do not advise breaking it up with your hands, the warmth of which will make a mushy mess of the chocolate.)
Store in a container at room temperature, far out of your own reach.