Earlier today, Madame Fromage posted a little something about the cheeses she picked for this picnic. All three were from Trader Joe’s and our intention was to show that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to create an inviting spread.
The final thing I contributed to the picnic was a tray of spicy pecan brittle. This sweet, salty, and spicy slab was good to nibble on alongside a slice of the mini basque and we all found ourselves crunching on it throughout the afternoon.
The one thing I’ll change next time I make this brittle for eating along side cheese is that I will make it thinner. I used a quarter sized sheet pan because I was thinking about portability and it produced a rather thick brittle. For pairing with cheeses, a thinner brittle with a texture that shatters more easily would have been nice.
To add the spicy element, I stirred in some gochugaru. This is the Korean chili powder that’s typically used for making kimchi, but it works beautifully in this brittle. If you don’t have it in your pantry, Aleppo or ancho chili powder would also work. I’d stay away from cayenne, because you don’t want to overwhelm the brittle with heat.
I used pecans in this brittle because I had jar in the fridge that wanted to be used. Other seeds and nuts will work nicely as well. If you were planning on taking it to a potluck where a warning about food allergies had been issued, try making it with a blend of toasted sunflower and sesame seeds. It would be delicious!
- 2 cups toasted whole pecans
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons gochugaru
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it near the stove.
- In a roomy, heavy bottomed pot, the butter. When it’s just liquid, add the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Stir to combine.
- Cook the toffee over medium-high heat until it turns golden brown and reaches a temperature of 285 degrees F, about 25 minutes.
- When the toffee has reached the necessary color and temperature, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the salt, chili pepper, and baking soda. It will foam madly. Keep stirring.
- Once both are well-integrated, stir in the toasted pecans. Pour mixture out onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet and spread using a rubber or silicone scrapper.
- When it's entirely cool, break it into pieces and eat.