- Course: Dessert
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Inexpensive
- Favorited: 9 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
This is one of the easiest recipes I make. It is also one of the most rewarding. Brittle stands alone as a great, simple, crunchy end to a meal. In the restaurant I prepare various nut brittles and use them in endless ways: as a crunchy topping for ice cream, as a cookie, as a garnish for caramel mousse. In a dessert, texture is as important as flavor. Nothing can replace the satisfaction one feels from a blend of crispy and creamy on the tongue. This recipe calls for peanuts, but you can easily substitute almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 17 × 11-inch baking pan with parchment, aluminum foil, or a nonstick baking pad.
Cook the caramel (see the Note on cooking caramel successfully):
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the sugar, 1/3 cup water, and the cream of tartar. Cover and cook over high heat until the syrup comes to a very rapid boil. Remove the cover and continue to cook on medium-high heat until the sugar has turned a golden brown caramel color. Pour the caramel onto the prepared baking pan and let cool.
Grind the caramel:
When the caramel is cool, break it into 1-inch pieces. Place the pieces in a food processor or coffee grinder and grind to the consistency of granular sugar. Stir in the ground nuts.
Bake and shape the brittle:
Reline your baking sheet with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a nonstick baking pad.
Spread the caramel and nut mixture onto the baking sheet in an even layer, approximately 1/8 inch thick. Bake until the caramel melts and begins to bubble, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the salt evenly over the melted caramel. When the brittle is cool, break it up into small pieces and serve.
Storage: This brittle will keep, sealed, in a cool, dry place, for 2 weeks. Humid conditions cause the brittle to lose its crunch and become sticky, overly chewy, and generally unpleasing. Though you might have the proper storage conditions, I do not recommend making this brittle on a humid day.
Hint: Perfectly round disks of peanut brittle:
To give the brittle a more finished look, before baking it you can sprinkle the ground caramel and nut mixture inside a round cookie cutter (2 inches in diameter) on a prepared pan, lis inch thick. Repeat this process until you have 12 circles. Carefully place the pan in the oven and bake until the caramel has melted and begins to bubble, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool completely, and remove the disks. If you would like to shape the disks, remove them from the baking pan before the caramel has cooled completely and place them on a desired form (a rolling pin or inverted muffin cups, for example). When completely cooled, the disks will hold the shape of the form.
Nutritional information is based on 24 servings.