And what does Brooks have to do with peanut brittle? Well, a few weeks ago, he posted a great recipe for peanut brittle made with a hoppy IPA (Sierra Nevada, to be exact) and minced jalapeno. Wanna see it?
This inspired me to come up with my own outside-the-box version of peanut brittle.
I took my standard brittle recipe, which is here, and tweaked it to include the flavors I wanted, namely The Beloved's home brewed and Completely Dry hard apple cider, maple syrup and crisp bacon.
- Candy apples are often rolled in crushed peanuts.
- Maple and apple taste great together.
- Peanut butter and bacon sammiches are a Real Thing.
- My bacon is apple wood-smoked, so there's another connection.
- Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so why not?
There is nothing terribly mystical about that, right? And I didn't even really look at Brooks's base recipe because I knew that I had my own that works just fine. My rules for a Starting Point were simple:
- Substitute in the same amount (4 oz for 4 oz, not 8 oz for 4 oz).
- Don't let any flavor overpower any of the others (I didn't add a pound of bacon).
- Don't burn the bacon (I added it at the very end of the cooking along with the baking soda).
- 1 pound granulated sugar (about 2½ cups)
- 4 oz corn syrup
- 4 oz pure maple syrup--grade B, if you can find it
- ½ teaspoon salt (more or less, to taste)
- 4 oz hard cider (or go with straight-up apple juice if you prefer)
- 9 oz lovely roasted (not dry roasted) salted peanuts
- ½ oz butter (1 Tablespoon)
- 3.5 oz bacon (weighed before cooking), cooked to Crispy and well drained, coarsely crumbled
- ½ teaspoon baking lumpless baking soda (sift if necessary)
- Line a half-sheet pan with Silpat or spray it well with pan spray. Set aside on a heat-proof surface.
- In a 3 quart, heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat up the sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, salt and hard cider. Before it gets too hot, taste for salt and add a bit more if necessary.
- When the mixture comes to a boil, put the lid on and let it boil for 2 minutes or so to wash any errant sugar crystals off the sides of the pan.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook until the candy reaches 265F.
- Stir in the nuts and butter and keep cooking, stirring frequently but gently, until the candy reaches 315F.
- Immediately remove from the heat and thoroughly stir in the crumbled bacon and the baking soda. The candy will foam up and look like peanut shaving cream. That's just fine.
- Pour/scrape out onto your prepared pan and smooth out the top with a heat-proof spatula.
- Cool completely and then break into Reasonable Pieces. You decide what that means.
If it's very humid or for storage of more than a day or two, keep in a tightly-sealed ziptop bag or container and add a couple of desiccant packs from your vitamin bottles. If you're going to be making a lot of candy, or making it frequently, buy some online by searching for "food-safe desiccant packs."
Knowing the rules and comparing the formula for this particular brittle with the generic formula for nut brittle, I'm willing to bet that you guys can come up with your own great flavor combinations. I'd love to hear about them in the comments section, too.
Also, please swing by and check Brooks out. He is a Gem. And obviously an inspiration!