Do you ever wonder what recipes you’ll be remembered for once you’re gone?
What foods will your children or grandchildren make because the sheer act of creating it brings back a little bit of you?
I’m not sure I know the answer to that question. It is probably something I have yet to make. I worry that I try too many new recipes to relinquish a signature soup, pie, or cookie.
I’ve spoken a lot here about my grandmother and her famous recipes. I’ve become the steward of her greatest hits since she passed away a couple years ago, which becomes especially important this time of year. For the next month I will busy myself with almond gingersnaps for my cousin and orange cookies for my dad. And then there’s the peanut brittle.
Until last week I had never actually made the peanut brittle. I’ve watched her close to a million times carefully stir in the peanuts and pour the lava-like mass on to the buttered cookie sheet. But because bubbling caramel and kids don’t mix she never actually let me do more than observe from a safe distance.
Not wanting to let a good recipe die I searched through all my grandmother’s recipe cards and sent a flurry of texts to my aunt and cousin, who finally found it among her stash. In the process we had a few laughs at Grandma’s expense (we might have unearthed a recipe for tuna Jell-O salad) but really what a lovely way to spend a late Friday afternoon snapping shots of our long lost favorite dishes and reminiscing.
Then on Saturday (while the kids watched from a safe distance) I made the brittle and it was just as I remembered; deeply caramelized with a satisfying airy crunch which comes from the addition of baking soda and a dab of butter right before setting out to harden.
But you know me, I couldn’t possibly leave well enough alone so I made a dairy-free version with extra virgin coconut oil which got me thinking actual coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds might be pretty amazing here too and well, don’t tell Grandma, but I kind of liked it better. I included a note on how to make the classic peanut kind if you want to stick to the true recipe.
One more thing: Remember to follow me (@holajalapeno) on Instagram for a chance to win some great gifts all month!
Brittle will keep at room temperature for 3 weeks, or frozen for up to 4 months.
You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe. My grandmother would also like you to use a heavy pan and a wooden spoon.
If you'd like to make traditional peanut brittle use 2 cups raw peanuts in place of the pumpkin seeds and coconut and butter in place of the coconut oil.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Have all ingredients measured before you begin.
- Use 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil to thoroughly grease a rimmed baking sheet.
- Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup of water in a large saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and stir until sugar has liquified. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and bring mixture to a boil. Let boil until it reaches 240°F, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in pumpkin seeds and continue boiling until mixture turns amber and reaches 300°F, about 8-9 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Carefully stir until mixture is smooth and well combined. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.
- When cool, turn out onto a cutting board (you may have to tap the edges on the board to loosen). Then break into bite-sized pieces.