Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bacon Pecan Brittle


When I think of brittle the first thing that comes to mind is peanut brittle.  Because brittle is synonymous with peanut brittle, am I right?  Peanut brittle is simply a classic; a candy that has been around for years.  Peanut brittle seems to go hand in hand with the holidays.  It's pretty much a sign that the holidays are here when I start seeing brittle pop up all around me; in stores, in the mail and recipes for it all over the internet. 

I've made peanut brittle a few times, and we've enjoyed it each time I've made it but sometimes it seems to be a little too sweet for our tastes.  And it really does mean something when I say it's too sweet because I have a massive sweet tooth.  So I decided to try to change it up a bit and pay homage to my favorite flavor combo; sweet and salty.  I used the basic brittle base recipe but instead of peanuts I added thick, roughly chopped pieces of bacon and pecans.  And let me tell you, I ended up with a bacon pecan brittle that was nothing short of amazing.

The end result is a sweet, buttery, and crunchy base that is studded with chopped pecans and salty bacon.  The slight bitterness of the pecans and the saltiness of the bacon really help to cut through the sweetness of the brittle giving the perfect combination of sweet, salty and crunchy.  This brittle is sure to please all, even those people you know who happen to be anti-brittle.  I know a few anti-brittle people and they thoroughly enjoyed the bacon pecan brittle.  This is one thing that is sure to be in my Christmas gift baskets!


Bacon Pecan Brittle
Ingredients:

7 Slices thick-cut bacon
1 Cup pecans, chopped
1/2 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
3/4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 Cup water
1/2 Cup light corn syrup
1 Cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt

Directions:

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. 

Place bacon in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until crispy.  Remove cooked bacon from skillet and place on a paper towel lined plate.  Continue until all bacon is cooked, set aside to cool.  Once bacon is cool enough to touch, roughly chop then set aside.

Combine baking soda, vanilla extract and butter in a small bowl and set aside. 

Secure a candy thermometer on the side of a medium sauce pan, making sure it's not touching the bottom of the pan, and place over medium heat.  Add water, corn syrup, sugar and salt in the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Allow the mixture to come to 296 F, stirring the mixture occassionally during the process to avoid burning.  Be sure the keep an eye on the mixture during this process as it will go from almost done to burnt in a matter of seconds.

Once mixture reaches 296 F immediately remove from heat.  Carefully add the butter, baking soda and vanilla to the mixture and stir for about 30 seconds.*  Immediately stir in the chopped bacon and pecans then pour onto the prepared baking sheet, smoothing with a spatula. 

Allow the brittle to completely cool and harden,about 30-45 minutes, then break into pieces.  Place in a zip top bag or airtight container for up to two weeks. 

*The mixture will bubble up when the butter, baking soda and vanilla is added so be sure your pan is large enough to accomodate the mixture.     

Recipe source: brittle base barely adapted from Joy of Baking,
                         bacon brittle-a Lynsey original

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