Monday, May 04, 2009

Chipotle-Maple Peanut Brittle...

I didn't get a chance to talk about it last Friday, but other than the pizza I made, I also prepared a sweet treat for us to enjoy throughout the weekend! Peanut brittle on its own is pretty darn tasty, but the Chipotle-Maple Peanut Brittle I made threw some gas onto the fire and made this brittle a bit more unique.

The maple part was actually not in the original recipe, but we thought it would be a fun introduction as we've had maple and chipotle in savory dishes before and they play off each other so well. You will need to dust off those neglected candy thermometers and if you've never used yours yet (go out and pick one up if you don't have one either - you don't need a super duper deluxe model either), this recipe is well worth dipping your toes into the world of candy making!

It is usually better to go a little bigger in the saucepan you use, rather than using a smaller one and risk having a hot molten mess of sugar all over your stove. For this recipe, I used a five quart pan and there was no fear of that happening and I think you could even get away with a 4 quart if you have one. To create this crunchy candy, you'll need to combine the sugar, corn syrup, pure maple syrup and a pat of butter and bring it up to a good bubble over medium heat. The heat is somewhat important - don't turn it up full blast as you may risk it scorching. When the thermometer jumps up to 275 degrees, in goes a generous amount of roasted, salted peanuts - stir, stir, stir to get those peanuts coated in the sticky syrup and let it continue to cook until it reaches a fiery 295 degrees.

Now the fun really happens! You'll notice that the mixture in the pan is getting darker and quite viscous - baking soda and the key ingredient, chipotle chile powder, are stirred in off the heat and the candy slowly starts to climb up the pan and begins to turn lighter. Working quickly, but very carefully, you need to dump the mixture onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper (foil would probably work fine too). Instead of spreading the hot sugar out with a spatula or trying to stretch it with your hands as it cools down, the recipe has you use a clever trick move it around.

We immediately laid another sheet of parchment paper on top and used a rolling pin to push and maneuver the candy underneath to an even thickness as the bumpy peanuts will act as a guide from letting it get too thin. While this is a great technique that I know I'll be using over and over, please do remember just how molten that brittle is as it will start to heat up the rolling pin pretty fast! Left alone to cool, it will turn into a very firm slab that can easily be broken into individual chunky pieces.

The first piece I had I let roam around my mouth to get full exposure on my tongue - sweet and slightly smoky right off the bat, I didn't get any heat! However, when I finished crunching through the candy and the nutty peanuts, I felt my temperature rise as a slight tingly burn began in my throat... bingo! It wasn't overwhelming at all, but there was just enough there to catch you off guard and force your hand to grab another piece to see if it happens again. The maple was fairly submissive to the other ingredients, but it worked well to add different layer of sweetness and depth. I wonder if using a mix of granulated sugar and maple sugar would act to impart a more noticeable mapleness? Do be sure you use a salted nut here - it is the only salt added and it is there to help keep the sweetness in check.

We went down to the farm on Sunday to pick up a bunch of strawberry plants (which have been planted in the back yard - more on that later!) and brought some down to share - Mom gave these solid approval and even asked for the recipe! Woo! If you wanted to be really trendy, I bet some crispy pieces of smoky bacon, stirred in near the end, would rock this brittle right out of the park!


  1. Whoa, this kicked up peanut brittle sounds totally awesome. These days, I've become a huge fan of candy making. I need to get a new candy thermometer, though...I dropped my last one into the boiling sugar, and flooded the thermometer...oops!

  2. Hi Joe,
    Just stopped by to say thanks for this wonderful recipe. Lindsey is donating blood today so I gave her a small portion for her restores. It's wonderful! I plan on chopping remaining and using as a mix-in for chocolate or peanut butter ice cream.


  3. Wow this sounds wonderful and a great twist on normal peanut brittle.

  4. Elyse - Get yourself to the store and pick up another one!

    Dolores - Love the idea of using it as a mix-in!

    Katie - Let us know if you give it a try!

  5. This looks great. I am going to try it for a Memorial Day gathering. I love spicy stuff!

  6. Kat - You gotta try it! I couldn't keep my hands out of the brittle.

  7. Joe, I made this today - good stuff! I wonder if I made all my desserts spicy if it would help keep me from over-eating....

  8. Ari - hee hee! It does make some treats much more interesting.