Tuesday, September 28, 2010
When I was a kid we would always stop at Woody's Smokehouse in Centerville on family trips to Houston. I can't say I remember the jerky (although I'm sure it was good), one thing I'll never forget is the candy. There were bags and bags of different types of nut brittles, some even drizzled with chocolate or loaded with coconut. We always loaded up on a few different varieties. It was a real treat.
Its been a while since I've made brittle, but I was craving some a week or so ago (it happened to be National Peanut Day, go figure) so I whipped up a batch.
adapted from Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking
1/16 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c salted, shelled peanuts
2 tbsp. butter
Spread peanuts out on a piece of parchment paper that has been placed inside a 9x13 baking dish. Combine sugar, water, and salt in a large saucepan and stir until dissolved. Cover and boil for 3 minutes. Remove lid and cook until the syrup turns a rich caramel color (320 degrees F). Remove from heat and quickly stir in butter. Pour over peanuts.
Cool completely before breaking apart.
Makes about 1 lb. of candy.
This is a great basic recipe that you can adapt to suit your tastes. Another variation I really like is macadamia coconut brittle. Just substitute macadamias and lightly toasted coconut for the peanuts, and add a few drops of coconut extract in with the butter.
As I munched on this brittle I was reminded of our family trips and all the neat brittle varieties that Woody's carried, and for some reason I had a sudden craving for another favorite road trip snack - Fritos...
So I combined the two, substituting 2 cups of Fritos for the peanuts that way I was sure to have some of the salty chips in each bite. This was a really tasty variation, maybe a new favorite. The crunchy, salty chips are a great complement to the sweet candy, definitely a good alternative if you are all out of peanuts or just want to try something a little different.