Ok, I have one last item from the Austin food blogger hatch chile potluck to share. The bread was an experiment so I also made risotto balls, and just for the fun of it, I wanted to take something sweet as well. Several weeks ago, I sampled some chocolate dipped peanut brittle at Big Top Candy Shop on south Congress in Austin, and as soon as I tasted it I knew I had to try to recreate it. I used pecans instead of peanuts to give the confection a little local flair. Despite the fact that this was a hatch chile potluck, I didn’t think the chiles would actually improve the flavor of this dish, but I wanted to stick with the theme in some way. When I found green chile salt, I imagined that might work as a finishing touch on the chocolate.
The basic brittle recipe I use is one from a 1996 issue of Living magazine. I’ve made it many times with peanuts, with a mix of nuts, and with pecans. It’s very easy to prepare, but a candy thermometer is needed, and you need to take some precautions while working with the molten liquid candy. You’ll want to prepare your baking sheets and have all the ingredients prepped and at hand before you begin to cook the brittle. Then, just stir, watch the thermometer, and add ingredients at the appropriate times. I let the brittle sit overnight and then broke it into pieces the next day. I dipped the pieces into melted milk chocolate and placed them on parchment-lined baking sheets. Before the chocolate set, I sprinkled a few grains of green chile salt on each piece.
I happen to be a big fan of nut brittles and toffees of all kinds, and I make these candies every year during the holidays. In the past, pecan toffee topped with milk chocolate was always my favorite. It’s slightly softer in texture than brittle, and I have a guarded recipe with a secret ingredient or two. I never would have thought it could slip from the number one spot of homemade candies in my mind, but this salted chocolate dipped pecan brittle was a surprisingly serious contender. Kurt isn’t even as into homemade candies as I am, and he was wowed by this one. When he first tasted it, he claimed the salt really worked well and quickly reached for a second, then third piece.