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Friday, August 14, 2015

Recipe: Molasses Peanut Brittle


Pieces of Molasses Peanut Brittle

Recipe: Molasses Peanut Brittle



Sweet and salty treats! I've said it before, and I'll say it again: That pairing is Confectionary Crack. Combined with my love affair with Peanuts, and it's no wonder that I find Peanut Brittle to be one of the most irresistible Caramel creations possible.

Brittle is a logical conclusion to a week-long run on all things Caramel. What's different between a crunchy Brittle and a chewy Caramel? It's really just a matter of a little more heat. When you boil out a touch more water, what was once a chewy candy sets hard and, well, brittle.

Isn't sugar amazing? Say, "yes!"

Sugar, Molasses, Glucose, Butter and Molasses for Brittle
As I recommended with the recipe for Soft Caramel Pecan Chews, if you've not yet read the overview on Caramel, now would be a good time. You'll find it's helpful to know what you're working with before you start. 

If you're all read up, then start by making a basic Caramel. Unlike the recipes for the Basic Caramel Sauce and the Soft Caramel Pecan Chews, this recipes begins with almost all of the ingredients boiling in the same pot.

The Molasses in this recipe adds another twist (a tasty one). Molasses is a by-product of the sugar refining process. Its rich, complex flavor can add a tremendous depth to Caramel products. But the dark color makes it impossible to gauge the cooking process by sight alone. If you don't already have one, now would be a good time to buy a candy thermometer.

Baking Powder Added to Caramel
Heat the Caramel until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). Once at temperature, remove the pot from the heat and actively whisk in the Baking Powder and Salt.

The mixture will foam as the Baking Powder reacts with the remaining water content in the Caramel, giving off carbon dioxide gas. Those little gas bubbles will get trapped in the Caramel as it hardens, making it easier on the teeth!

Coating Roasted Peanuts with Caramel
As soon as the Baking Powder and Salt are fully incorporated, pour the Peanuts into the Caramel, stirring actively with a wooden spoon.

Hot Peanut Brittle on a Silpat
Once the Peanuts are well coated in Caramel, pour the hot Brittle out onto a clean silpat (or a sheet tray sprayed with non-stick spray)

Spread the Brittle into a single layer of Peanuts. Be careful, because the Brittle will be extremely hot. The easiest way to spread the Brittle is to cover it with a second silpat and use a rolling pin to spread the nuts.

Sheet of Molasses Peanut Brittle
Allow the Brittle to cool on the silpat. It will set hard. When the Brittle is completely cool, remove it from the silpat and break it into pieces.

The Brittle will keep for weeks when stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container or plastic freezer bag.




- The Recipe -




Molasses Peanut Brittle:


Yield: 1,000g

Ingredients:
  • Sugar: 400g (2 Cups)
  • Corn Syrup / Glucose: 80g (4 Tbls)
  • Molasses: 45g (2 Tbls)
  • Water: 120g (0.5 Cup)
  • Butter, cubed: 115g (1 Stick / 0.5 Cups)


  • Baking Powder: 5g (1 Tsp)
  • Salt: 12g (2 Tsp)


  • Peanuts, roasted: 450g (1 pound)



Directions:

1. If not pre-roasted, gently toast the Peanuts for 5-7 minutes in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and set them aside.

2. Put the Sugar, Corn Syrup, Molasses, Butter and Water in a large, clean pot and gently stir to combine. 

Chef's Note: It is extremely important to use a pot that can hold nearly 3x the volume of your ingredients. Later, when you add the Baking Powder, the mixture will foam and increase in volume. The pot should also be free of any debris, which could cause the Caramel to crystallize.

3. Heat the ingredients to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). As soon as the Caramel reaches temperature, remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the Baking Powder and Salt.

4. Once the Baking Powder and Salt are fully incorporated, add the Peanuts and stir them with a wooden spoon until they are well coated with the Caramel.

5. Pour the Brittle out onto a silpat and spread it into a single layer.

6. Allow the Brittle to cool. It will set hard. When the Brittle is completely cool, break it into smaller pieces.



Storage:

- The Brittle will keep for many weeks when stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container or freezer bag.



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