Pig Candy… aka Bacon Peanut Brittle
Being a personal chef and a member of the United States Personal Chef Association comes with its priviledges. One of them is the access to many, many wonderful (and sometimes quite unique) recipes. I stumbled across this recipe last week and just couldn’t resist making it for my husband – a HUGE bacon and brittle fan – who knew he could have both together???
Not being known for my great success at baking, except for cheesecakes, I was a little hesitant to try something as delicate as peanut brittle, but it really came together quite easy. The main trick is having all of your ingredients measured out and ready to go because once the syrup/sugar mixture starts to boil, things go down in a flash!
Pig Candy aka Bacon Peanut Brittle
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon pure ground ancho chili*, or to taste
Pinch of ground Cayenne pepper
1 cup whole salted, roasted peanuts
2 cups cooked, crumbled Applewood bacon, fully rendered and drained well
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
Butter a baking sheet with about ½ tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
Place sugar and corn syrup in a large, heavy 4 or 5 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stir the sugar and corn syrup until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbly and is pale golden brown. Add the ground chile and cayenne and cook for 2-3 minutes longer or until the sugar mixture has reached the hard-crack stage, about 300ºF if you are using a candy thermometer.
Take off the heat and working very quickly, stir in the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of butter and then beat in the baking soda. Add the peanuts and bacon and mix well. Immediately pour onto the prepared baking sheet—it should even itself out, but if it doesn’t, smooth with a spatula and let cool.
Break the brittle into pieces by giving the entire tray a sharp slap on the kitchen counter. If it is made right, that’s all it will take! Store Brittle in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Makes about 1 lb
The ground ancho chile peppers make a big difference in this recipe so don’t leave them out. If you can’t find them ground in your local store, buy whole dried ancho chiles; they are available every where—I’ve even seen them at convenience stores! I actually prefer grinding them myself and never buy the chile already ground.
Here’s what you do: tear the chile in half and discard the seeds and stem and anything that is hard. The chiles should have a leathery texture, not a brittle one. Put the pieces of chile in a spice grinder, a.k.a. coffee grinder, and process until you have a tablespoon of “ground” ancho chile. Make sure you taste before you put in the brittle. The heat factor varies from chile to chile. Ancho chiles should taste a little fruity with a light heat. Store any extra in a jar with a tight fitting lid for up to 3 months.
Recipe Courtesy of Elizabeth Karmel