Peanut Brittle with Fleur de Sel
Over the weekend, my friend Emily came over and we baked up a storm. It was the perfect start to the holiday season for me — and because she loves to bake as well, we made a great team in the kitchen. Things hummed along smoothly, each of us measuring and checking things and stirring and gabbing away…it reminded me that even though I do spend most of my cooking time solo, I love to do it with someone else too (and it’s even better when that other cook knows their way around a kitchen!) We cranked out espresso chocolate shortbread (with toffee pieces added, upping the factor of deliciousness exponentially, in my opinion), chocolate gingerbread bars, and this peanut brittle with fleur de sel. It’s hard to say what our favorite sweet of the day turned out to be (because of course we had to sample them all!) but one thing we could agree on was that we were flying high on sugar by the end of the afternoon.
In Food and Wine magazine, this is called “Best Ever Nut Brittle,” and with good reason. It’s the perfect balance of sweet (yet, amazingly, not overly sugary), slightly salty and buttery, and the baking soda lightens it just enough so that you won’t break a tooth biting into a chunk (take a look at this article for an interesting read on why baking soda is added to some candies like nut brittles). And though you have to work quickly once the candy reaches temperature, overall it was an easy recipe to make — just make sure you have your nuts, baking soda, and a parchment-lined baking sheet ready to go before you start simmering the candy mixture (because 300 degree molten sugar is not the kind of thing you want to be sloshing around as you frantically try to measure your peanuts and baking soda – yow!)
For all those nut brittle lovers in your life, this would make a great edible gift for the holidays, packaged in a cellophane bag and tied with a bow.
Other Edible Gift Ideas:
Chocolate Peanut Toffee
Vanilla Bean Hot Chocolate
World Peace Cookies
Peanut Brittle with Fleur de Sel
From Food and Wine
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces roasted salted peanuts (you could also use another kind of nut, like cashews, pistachios, pecans, etc.)
Fleur de sel or crushed Maldon sea salt
Measure out your nuts and baking soda and set near the stove. On a heat-proof surface, set a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper (or if you have a non-stick sheet pan, you can use that without the parchment — but we found the parchment allows for easy lifting off the pan when cooled.)
Combine the sugar, water, butter and corn syrup in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel is light brown and registers 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer (approximately 10 minutes.)
Turn off the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda (the mixture will bubble.)
Stir in the nuts, then immediately scrape the brittle onto your parchment-lined baking sheet. Use the back of a large spoon (oil it lightly if it sticks) to spread the brittle into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Break the brittle into large shards.
Makes 2 pounds of brittle.