Spicy Pecan Brittle

June 25, 2015(updated on April 24, 2023)
side view picnic

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.

whole brittle

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.

broken brittle

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.

picnic spread

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.

brittle with cheese

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!

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July 4th Picnic: Spicy Pecan Brittle


  • 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.

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4 thoughts on "Spicy Pecan Brittle"

  • My goodness those are the prettiest pictures! I love pecans, I love peanut brittle, so I suppose this is probably the perfect recipe for me!

    That Basque cheese looks marvelous too. I like the idea of using the sesame and sunflower seeds too, but if I make this, I’m totally doing pecans first!

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Your spicy pecan brittle sounds delicious and I always have pecans in the freezer for my homemade granola.

    And may I also send a big thank you your way. I took your class at Valley Variety in Hudson last year which gave me the knowledge and confidence to go forth and can. I’m off to a good start this growing season with pickled radishes and carrots which I seasoned for fish tacos, your honey sweetened strawberry jam, to which I added fresh mint and this morning the strawberries are macerating for your strawberry vanilla preserves.