January 8, 2012

Peanut Brittle Biscotti

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Peanut brittle is a candy from another generation.  Considered "Olde Tyme"-y, it's found usually during the holidays because of its association with nostalgic Christmas candies and confections. But the carmelized nutty sweetness of peanut brittle deserves a second glance.  

I've been making peanut brittle for years for someone very special to me, my Grandpa Missy.  "Missy" was the name of their adored family cocker spaniel that predated me and the other grandchildren by at least 10 years.  But the name still stuck and so did my Grandpa's life long fondness for peanut brittle.  Peanut brittle for him as a kid must have been the equivalent of my Snickers and Starburst.  Because of distance, I couldn't see my grandpa very often.  But I'd try to shorten those miles by sending him packages of homemade peanut brittle as often as I could.  One day, while on a biscotti-baking binge, I added a handful of crushed peanut brittle that was left over after the care package I'd packed for him couldn't fit any more.  The jagged little nuggets folded into the biscotti batter and cooked up like the two treats were meant to be together along.  My grandpa agreed.  He loved the peanut brittle biscotti too. 

Grandpa and Great-Granddaughter meet
This past November, the kindest grandpa a granddaughter could ask for passed away peacefully and quietly into the presence of Jesus and the company of my Grandma Missy and their eldest son.  I miss my grandpa very much.  But I know he is with his Savior.  He is probably enjoying an arm-locked stroll with my grandma through heaven's greenery right now.  They might even be nibbling on some peanut brittle too.   Below is the recipe I created for him, and I hope you'll enjoy it too.

Peanut Brittle Biscotti
makes approx 28 long biscotti

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup crushed peanut brittle

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Scrape down and beat in the egg and egg yolk. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter.  Mix until all ingredients come together into a moderately stiff dough. Divide the dough in two mounds on the baking sheet. Shape each half of dough into a 9-inch by 3-inch rectangle.  The dough will spread considerably so give yourself ample room between the logs. If you prefer, you can brush an egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water) over the biscotti logs.  But I haven't done that here. 

Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet for even baking and bake for 20-25 more minutes until golden and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and let the biscotti cool until able to handle. Using a serrated knife, cut logs into 1 inch wide diagonal slices.  Try to cut each biscotti in one smooth motion.  This will give your biscotti nice clean edgeswithout snagging the sides.

Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet.  Because of the now melted peanut brittle inside, handle with care and prop them up on their sides up gently. Bake again until pale golden, about 10- 20 minutes.  Check every 5 minutes to ensure that they're not too browned.  If desired, flip biscotti half way through.

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