Salty Sweet Brittle That Says “More Please”

Cooking, Recipes By Mar 31, 2011

WHITE TABLE SALT? Tut, tut. How predictable.

How about something unusual from the world of specialty salts?

Lingerie pink from Peru.
Oyster gray from France.
Rust red or jet black from Hawaii.
Brown-sugar amber from Denmark. And many more.

To season foods that cook a long time, or water for cooking pasta or soups, kosher salt works fine (kosher salt is an additive free, coarse-grained salt that is generally mined, rather than hand- harvested from evaporated seawater).

Exotic sea salts are best used as a final flourish, as a “finishing salt.” Try some atop brittle.

You’ll need a candy thermometer.
And enough toe-tapping, candy-stirring music to last 15 minutes.

Yield: About 1 1/2 pounds
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coarse sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Camargue
1. Butter a rimmed baking sheet. In heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, water and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; boil without stirring until candy thermometer reaches 260 degrees and syrup is light amber, 30-35 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; add peanuts and 1 tablespoon butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until thermometer reaches 295 degrees, about 15 minutes.
2. Add vanilla, stir well, remove from heat and pour onto prepared baking sheet. Spread mixture into thin sheet with back of buttered spoon or spatula. Sprinkle evenly with coarse salt while still warm.
3. Cool, then break into serving pieces. Store between sheets of waxed paper in airtight container at room temperature.
Source: “Salt & Pepper,” by Sandra Cook, Sara Slavin and Deborah Jones


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