We’re headed to a co-ed bridal shower for my brother and future sister-in-law, which her family is hosting near the Boston Area. Fun! You’re thinking. A trip to Boston! What is that, about a 2 hour flight from Cleveland?
Except . . . my father won’t fly in airplanes. So this means that we’ll be taking a rather long road trip. We’re used to it though. We grew up driving the twenty-some hours to Florida to go to Disney World. And my parents made the cross-country drive about once a year for 6 years to visit me in California when I lived in San Francisco.
That doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to the 10-hour drive each way, however. So I’m stocking up on fun snacks to keep me distracted. Sour Patch Kids are my usual guilty pleasure travel treat. Those are already in a bag, and will get loaded into the car pretty soon. Since this road trip is with my parents, I wanted to make something special.
We have a huge bag of beautiful pistachio meat that my dad picked up from a wholesaler. We’ve been using them on sundaes and for general snacking. They’re definitely coming on the trip with us, but we can’t seem to get enough of them and we can’t eat them fast enough. I wanted to find some creative ways to use them, and brittle sounded great. My family also loves pretzels, so it seemed natural to combine the two. Chocolate was the only thing missing, so I fixed that problem immediately.
(Side note: Did you notice that he’s my father when he is being difficult by not flying, but he’s my dad when he does something wonderful like buying six cups of shelled pistachios?)
This brittle is salty, sweet, nutty and chocolate-y. I’m going to have a hard time saving any for the car ride, because I can’t stop breaking off little bits around the edge of the pan to taste as it cools. Just one more bite. Oh, that pistachio is so close to the edge, I’ll just get him too. Now I just need a little chocolate to get all of the flavors together . . .
Pistachio, Pretzel and Dark Chocolate Brittle
adapted from Bon Appetit’s Salted Pistachio Brittle recipe from January 2013
1 c sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 c salted, roasted pistachio meat
1/2 c pretzel bits (I broke small pretzels into chunks)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling
2 oz dark chocolate, cut into chunks
Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray with the nonstick spray. You’ll use this at the end, so set it aside for now.
Whisk the sugar, corn syrup, and 3 tablespoons of water together in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until it reaches 290 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Whisk in butter. Keep whisking until the mixture reaches 300 degrees and begins to turn light brown. Add pistachios and pretzels, mixing thoroughly with a spatula. Heat until the mixture returns to 300 degrees. Continue to cook until the caramel is a slightly darker, golden-brown. The mixture will seize when you add the butter and again when you add the nuts/pretzels because the temperature of the caramel is dropping. As soon as it heats back up it will loosen and turn back into a syrup.
Sprinkle baking soda over the mixture, and stir to mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture onto the parchment paper and spread as thinly as possible with the spatula. Sprinkle with the Maldon and chocolate chunks. Let cool completely, then break into smaller pieces.
Quick note about making candy: if you’ve never made caramel before, just a warning that it is incredibly hot. DO NOT TOUCH IT, so please be careful when pouring and spreading.
Store between layers of parchment in an airtight container. I’m going to keep ours in the cooler on our road trip so it doesn’t heat up in the scorching sun that we’ve had lately. It should keep for about a week, but it’s not honestly going to last that long.