Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chipotle Maple Peanut Brittle

I hope you will excuse the presentation in the pictures here. I photographed my Chipotle Maple Peanut Brittle in my little Santa Claus bowl, because I made this stuff for the holidays and the Santa theme was totally relevant then. However, the Christmsa season took over quickly on me and I never got around to posting about the brittle until now. Believe me, it deserved a mention, late or not, so here is my blog entry on it, albeit a little late.

This beautiful, complex, amazing candy is one of my new favorite things. I'm serious; this is majorly addictive, sweet, salty, spicy goodness in brittle form. It was simple to make with the use of my handy dandy candy thermometer, contained ingredients that you wouldn't necessarily think would work together so well (so it makes a great conversation piece!), and it keeps for a couple of weeks. The maple syrup gives the brittle a great edge of sweetness that makes it different from the standard candy. The chipotle powder is this fantastic stealth ingredient that doesn't instantly present itself. Instead, it hits you just after the second or third bite, out of nowhere. It's this great smoky heat that pairs so amazingly well with the nuts and the sugary goodness. It's something you just have to try for yourself if you like trying new and interesting foods. As far as different goes, this one is a doozy!

Chipotle Maple Peanut Brittle
from Culinary in the Desert (adapted from Cooking Light)
makes about 1 3/4 lbs. of brittle

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. butter
2 1/2 cups (about 320 grams) roasted salted peanuts
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. chipotle chile powder

1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, and butter. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until a candy thermometer registers 275 degrees. Add peanuts and cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometers registers 295 degrees. Remove pan from the heat and stir in baking soda and chile powder.

2. Working quickly, but carefully, pour the mixture out onto a large baking sheet (preferably one that has open sides) lined with parchment paper and coated with cooking spray. Cover candy with another sheet of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to quickly roll mixture to an even thickness. Leave parchment paper on top for 5 minutes, then remove top sheet and set baking sheet onto a wire rack to let candy cool completely. Break into pieces; store in an airtight container, for up to 2 weeks.

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