7 March 2011

Brittle (adj.): Hard and sharp.  Showing signs of instability.

There went February.  January, too.  This space’s first birthday has come and gone without note, and I’m afraid to say that I’ve been cooking just about as much as this site suggests, which is to say, not so much.

But there was brittle.  It’s particularly good at Christmastime.  Of course my planning was bad.  And brittle’s really very good at any time.  The somewhat famous stuff they serve here isn’t brittle at all, but it’s that kind of good where you take and take and take and it’s still not quite enough.

I think this is too.

Pecan brittle, spiced + Maldon sea salt

Questions for the crowd (I’m looking at you, Lexi):  What if I wanted to make pecan bourbon brittle?  Is that possible?  And if so, how?  Or is there something wrong with the science of burned sugar + alcohol?

adapted from New York Magazine

12 oz/340 g pecans  |  2 cups sugar  |  1 stick/115 g butter + a little more |  ½ cup water  |  1/3 cup light corn syrup (sorry)  |  ½ tsp each baking soda, cayenne, cinnamon (less cayenne if you don’t like spice)  |  1.5 tbsp Maldon sea salt

Cook sugar, butter, water, and corn syrup in a heavy pan over medium high heat until golden, at least 15 minutes.  Stir once before you begin cooking, but don’t do it again.  While you’re waiting, butter a piece of parchment paper, the back of a big spoon (really), and set the paper in a big baking sheet, buttered side up.

When you are satisfied with the color of the caramel, take off heat and stir in baking soda, spices, and some of the sea salt.  Add the pecans.  Stir well.  Scrape onto the parchment.  Use the back of the spoon to smooth it out.  It will be very hot, so protect your hands.  Sprinkle the rest of the salt on top.  This all has to happen kind of quickly.

When cool, break into shards and ship to your favorite friends.

Makes a lot

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lexi March 7, 2011 at 12:48

I have a caramel popcorn recipe where you add a bit of vanilla extract along with the baking soda, so I don’t see any reason you couldn’t add a tablespoon of bourbon around the same time. The pan is off the heat by then, anyway, so it shouldn’t flare up or anything. Why don’t you try it out, and I’ll be your taste tester? :)

Also, if you’re looking to avoid corn syrup, you can make it with agave nectar. Though agave is a bit sweeter, so you’ll want slightly less, and slightly more water.


me March 7, 2011 at 15:27

You’re the best, Lex. And yes! Please be my brittle taste tester. :)

Julia March 8, 2011 at 06:49

Please count me in the line up to be a brittle taste tester too! I love anything with nuts and this sounds truly yummy! Julia


L March 21, 2011 at 04:09

And welcome back…!


me March 21, 2011 at 10:20

Thanks, L!! 2011’s been a bit of a haul…

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