Salted Rosemary and Pecan Brittle
I learned to make brittle on a cold December day my junior year of college. I also learned to make candy the old fashioned way, WITHOUT a candy thermometer. I’m almost fairly sure my grandmother had one … mehbeh. Actually, knowing my grandmother, probably not. What I didn’t know (anything) about candy making, I learned (everything) that day.
Which brings us to today … or rather a few weeks ago brings us to today. About a month ago I had the upmost honor to have a deliriously delicious celebratory lunch with a writer pal of mine, the ever-lovely Laura Benedict (more about her books later). We decided French food was the only way to go. French food also meant a cheese board. The most intriguing thing on the cheese board was brittle. Rosemary brittle. It sounds like it shouldn’t be good, but in reality it’s PHENOMINAL.
Rosemary can be overpowering, yet somehow when paired with the sugar and the pecans (or walnuts, there was some debate about this) it becomes delicate and refreshing. The salt offsets everything nicely, taking this sweet decidedly over the savory line. This brittle would make a wonderful palate cleanser between courses. Or, you know, just a nummy treat to eat.
And if you’re worrying because you don’t have a candy thermometer: don’t. I mean you don’t really need one. Promise. Melting sugar is kinda straight forward: keep stirring and don’t burn it.
SIDEBAR: Laura Benedict is quite possibly the sweetest, nicest, most adorable human you’ll ever meet … that she writes devilishly good ghost stories that give you goose bumps is a delightful turn. I cannot recommend her Bliss House series enough: it’s wonderfully gothic and twisty. The third installment, “The Abandonded Heart” drops on October 10th (perfect for your Halloween read), and really you MUST read it. I know I will. WE COULD TWITTER BOOK CLUB ABOUT IT.
1 cup sugar
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
4 TBSP (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 TBSP finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 TBSP sea salt
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat (highly recommend getting a Silpat, btw). Place in an oven heated to 200 degrees F until ready to use.
Place the sugar in a large, heavy saucepan over high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until sugar begins to melt. Reduce heat to medium-high and keep stirring until the sugar is completely melted.
Stop stirring and watch for it to turn a medium caramel color (if it isn’t already – mine turned darker as the sugar melted). Stir in pecans and butter. Cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly, or until completely combined and butter is incorporated. Stir in half of the rosemary and half of the sea salt. Remove from heat.
Working quickly, grab your cookie sheet from the oven and pour the mixture out onto the pan and spread it evenly to the desired thickness with a stiff rubber spatula. Sprinkle remaining rosemary and salt on top, while brittle is still warm.
Allow brittle to cool completely, for at least one hour. You don’t want your brittle to be tacky or sticky at all. Helps if it isn’t humid when you make it. Time to break the brittle! I generally just pick it up and drop it a few times, then I break the bigger hunks by hand.
Store at room temp in an airtight container (like a tin or a Tupperware … not a Ziploc bag). DO NOT STORE IN THE FRIDGE. Bad things will happen.
Happy brittle making!
Have you ever made homemade brittle? Give it a go and let us know how it goes.0