Croccante is Italy’s version of nut brittle. It’s a holiday treat many of our mothers, nonnas and zias typically made with almonds. A few years back, I discovered a recipe for croccante americano — aka peanut brittle — that is highly addictive and made even more delicious by a light sprinkling of sea salt as a final touch. This recipe has become a favourite in our family and was featured in Panoram Italia magazine.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups roasted salted peanuts
- Fleur de Sel or Maldon salt for sprinkling
- Candy thermometer
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a stainless steel saucepan, combine the sugar, water, butter and corn syrup. Bring to a boil.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns a light brown colour and registers 300F on a candy thermometer. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. It is essential to use a candy thermometer here. The caramel must reach 300F — the hard crack stage — to set properly and achieve that perfect, crunchy texture.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. The mixture will bubble.
- Stir in the nuts, then quickly pour the brittle onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Spread the brittle into an even layer using a lightly-oiled spatula.
- Lightly sprinkle with Fleur de Sel or Maldon salt.
- Let the brittle cool completely (about 25 minutes) and break into large shards. The brittle should be stored in an airtight container and kept in a cool, dry place. Use parchment paper to separate layers of brittle to prevent them from sticking together.