Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Peppered Peanut Brittle

It's crummy weather outside, and seemed like the perfect day to concoct something sweet in my kitchen.  This brittle gets an unexpected dash of heat from three kinds of pepper, although you can omit the peppers if you prefer - enjoy!

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 and 1/2 cups vegan sugar
  • 1/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vegan butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1. Coat a jelly roll pan or baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reads 325 degrees - it will take a little over 10 minutes.  Make sure to use at least a large enough saucepan, otherwise the mixture might bubble over.

3. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the peanuts, baking soda, butter, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and ground red pepper; quickly transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spreading the mixture to the edges.  Let stand for 1 hour, then break into pieces.

Note: the brittle will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.  You can also package this in pretty cellophane or wax paper bags tied with ribbon - a batch makes a great hostess gift.

Nutrition Info:
20 servings (about 1 ounce), Calories 105 

Tasting Notes:
The texture of this came out 100% perfect, which was a great triumph for me since I've never made brittle before.  There was a wonderfully pleasing contrast between the sharp heat of the pepper at the beginning of each bite, and the sweeter, mellower finish from the sugar and corn syrup.  For my personal taste, the brittle was a touch too peppery, so decrease the amounts stated above if you're sensitive to heat.  Either way, a wonderfully different little snack.


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