Toasted Pepita and Ancho Chile Peanut Brittle

This snappy confection pairs toasty nuts with smoky and sweet ancho chile powder and warming cinnamon.

Toasted Pepita and Ancho Chile Peanut Brittle
Toasted Pepita and Ancho Chile Peanut Brittle. Photo:

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
Yield:
4 to 6 servings

This giftable brittle from chef LaMara Davidson is loaded with toasty peanuts, pepitas, and smoky, sweet ancho chile powder. Baking soda reacts with the acidic caramelized sugar to create the tiny air pockets that give the candy a porous and snappy texture. The molten sugar will bubble up vigorously when adding the baking soda, so be sure to use a long-handled wooden spoon for safe stirring. Work quickly when spreading the brittle on the buttered baking sheet as the caramelized syrup will begin to thicken as soon as it hits the cold pan. Once completely cooked, the candy can be broken into a mosaic of shards. Speckled with rusty-red chile powder, loaded with nuts and sprinkled with flaky sea salt, this delectable brittle can be packaged in small festive bags for the ultimate holiday gift.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus softened unsalted butter, for greasing

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup light corn syrup

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 1/4 cups dry roasted peanuts

  • 1 1/4 cups roasted salted pepitas

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder, plus more for garnish

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

  1. Generously grease a 13- x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet with butter; set aside. Stir together sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 cup water, and kosher salt in a medium saucepan; attach a candy thermometer to side of pan. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until mixture reaches 280°F, 18 to 20 minutes.

  2. Stir in cubed butter, peanuts, pepitas, ancho chile powder, vanilla, and cinnamon until mixture is well combined and butter is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring often, until mixture is golden brown and reaches 300°F, 4 to 5 minutes. Add baking soda, stirring until well combined. (Mixture will bubble up vigorously.) Working quickly, immediately pour brittle mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Gently shake baking sheet to smooth brittle into a thin, even layer, or use the back of a spoon to spread brittle into a thin, even layer. (Lightly grease spoon with butter if brittle sticks.) Sprinkle hot brittle evenly with flaky sea salt; garnish with additional ancho chile powder.

  3. Let brittle cool completely at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Break into pieces.

Make Ahead

Brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

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