Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fleur de Sel Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle!

Best made when having a bad, bad day.

Physically smashing something with a mallet and eating candy afterward will cure what ails you.

Like when you're loading your daughter into her car seat and some guy who decides that the parking spot next to you, the one your open door is crowding, is where he needs to park his SUV. Despite the wide open parking lot, he wants that particular spot next to you bad enough to honk at you, while you're wrestling with buckles half hanging out of your car.

Oh yes folks, Ms. Humble was not pleased.

Of course I closed my door on myself as far as I could while buckling in the little one and he then whips into the stall, bumping my car door. I kid you not. Luckily not hard, since I do prefer my legs in their current non-crushed state.

So I was livid, finished buckling my daughter in and duck out to yell at this jerk who had the gall to honk at me and then hit my car. Too late, he has already descended upon me, angry that I so cavalierly placed my car door in a parking spot he wanted.

What on earth is wrong with some people? I asked him this and he just stormed off into the...

Local organic, whole foods store?!

I thought people who shopped at this place were all nice folks, prone to wearing mocknecks and Birkenstocks. Lovers of soy dogs and whole grains. Not leather jacket wearing, SUV drivers who go all road rage on a mother trying to buckle in her daughter.

So yes, Peanut brittle today.

One pot. Heat. Stir. Pour. SMASH. Eat.

Fleur de Sel Peanut Brittle
adapted from Brittles, Barks & Bonbons
yields 1 1/2 lbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus some for buttering the pan)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts

fleur de sel

Lightly butter a large jelly roll pan and set aside.

In a high sided sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter and then add the sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to a boil stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Once boiling clip on your candy thermometer and then allow to boil, only occasionally with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.

Bring the mixture to 335-340°F on your candy thermometer and remove from the heat. Add the vanilla and baking soda and mix well. Stir in the peanuts and immediately pour into your prepared pan.

Quickly spread the mixture to achieve the desired thickness, sprinkle with the fleur de sel and allow to sit at room temperature until cool. Pop out of the pan and break into pieces or just smash it with a wooden mallet.

Feel free to imagine it being the hood of a certain man's SUV.

Oh and to you Mr. SUV, should you ever stumble across my blog, perhaps looking for a recipe for organic tempeh stir fry: You look like a molting elephant seal in that old leather jacket.

Just a heads up.

Ms. Humble


  1. A molting elephant seal? That has to be the funniest visual ever!

  2. thanks for the SUV peanut brittles..

  3. Hi Ms. Humble!

    I discovered your blog yesterday and I just wanted to say I LOVE IT! The sarcastic V-Day-cookies made me laugh so hard!

    So, I guess there's no real point to this comment besides wanting to tell you to please never close this blog and saying that you have a new fan from Germany!

  4. I'm actually somewhat reassured by this story. I thought all those types lived here in the Washington DC area where people drive and act like if they don't get where they're going, the entire government will fail. As if that would be a bad thing?

    And I hate it when our kids witness jerks acting like that and we have to say things like, "it's okay, Mommy can handle anything!" Heat. Stir. Pour. SMASH. Eat.

    Good solution.

  5. What a git. I would never behave like that! I was going to say, when I saw these pictures, that this brittle is like fancy, home made Mr. Tom.

    But I bet the guy's name wasn't Mr. Tom (or Mr. SUV). Nope, I bet is name is Richard. But people shorten it. For sure.

  6. With a set up like that, I was thinking you might be doing a recipe for stir fried jackass or something more clever for disposing of bodies than I can think of this early in the AM.

  7. Geez some people. Two thoughts:

    1) You must be psychic, I have been craving salty peanut brittle since Monday, but I never knew how to make it. Thanks :)

    2) I noticed that some of the most awful people are in places where there should be happy, smiling hippies. Like Trader Joe's, Whole Foods or local Co-Ops....I don't understand it. I'M happy-go-lucky-hippie when I go to those stores, but it seems like everyone else has their jerk caps on.

    And, like SouthLakes Mom I too live in the DC metro area, so I'm a little relieved that its not just this place that has the crazed, insanely rude drivers.

  8. too bad you did not have a misfortune cookie with "biggest jerk" you could have left on his windshield!
    always a "bad" one in the bunch...
    hope today is a sunshine day for you... :)

  9. I have never understood how people can be a. so rude, and b. so confrontational! The gaul to go over and get in someone's face! crazzzzzy!

    So I concur, One pot. Heat. Stir. Pour. SMASH. Repeat. Oh wait, you said "eat". somedays repeat is neccessary!

  10. From my observations, this behavior is not unexpected from people shopping at Big Expensive Grocery. It's why I do my grocery shopping at the crack of getting out of bed whenever possible.

    And then there was the time I met my boss at the Central Market downtown one weekend. We chatted briefly and I thought that was the end of it, but no! He cornered me the next week and started complaining how expensive everything was at that store, and how he must have spent $200 on groceries, and this and that... (He bought meat and wine and I only bought produce, eggs, and dairy.) But he apparently decided he paid me too much for too little work because I shopped there. Joy.

  11. In my experience as a former cashier at a organic health food store, the average person who shops at such stores are exactly the person you described. I had people yelling at me all the time for things like wearing leather shoes (nevermind that I stood for 10 hours at a time and my $160 Birkenstock shoes were the only thing that made it bearable) and being a carnivore (though I eat veggie meals times a week), and one crotchety old man tried to strangle one of my coworkers. One coworker accidentally asked a 45 year old woman if she qualified for the senior discount and was literally screamed at for over 15 minutes! She spent the next hour crying in the cafe... My theory: the people that shop at organic food stores feel so good about themselves for buying organic that they decide they can get away with being total a**holes in other aspects of their lives. There were some lovely people that shopped at my store too, but most of them tended toward the jerky side...

    Can't wait to try the peanut brittle! I LOVE the salty sweet combo!

  12. I learn a lot from your blog--you being funny is a great bonus! :)

  13. Wow. Rude! I hope his SUV ends up with big scratches and dings in the paint finish from people's car doors hitting it because he's parked too close. But at least you got to reap the benefits of your brittle smashing!

  14. I had the same kind of day last week. Boy I could have used this recipe then. Now it is in the memory backs though. Thanks much!

  15. Commiserations in crossing paths with an idiot. Unfortunately that subspecies is overrepresented in the population.

    Tech questions: Peanut brittle is great, but so are brittles made with other nuts, but I haven't tried to use them yet. Some nuts are oilier than others, some are more fragile. Does the amount of oil or size/shape of the nut matter? For example, whole almonds might be too hard in the final product, and slivers or slices might burn on contact with the hot sugar. Pecans I'm sure would work (all that praline can't be wrong); but are walnuts too oily? Would other nuts benefit from being toasted first, or does the hot sugar bath do that?

  16. You can use just about any nut in a brittle. Seeds work too, I've made brittle with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pine nuts too.

    Yes, I do recommend first toasting the nuts first to bring out the flavor. Their brief swim in the hot sugar isn't sufficient.

    Oh for the folks asking: Mr. SUV didn't damage my car, though he may have scratched his paint. Since he didn't threaten to sue me on the spot, I doubt he noticed it.

  17. Hello, I just found your blog. I love it, you seem crazy! This is a compliment, just to make it clear... The thing with these SUV - idiots and the whole organic/locavorean movement is that they need to be incorporated for the revolution of food production to happen. So you just witnessed a sign of the Movement marching on! Count yourself lucky ;)

  18. Love it! I'll have to invest in a candy thermometer because I most definitely have days where a little SMASHING would come in handy. Followed by eating candy would absolutely melt those troubles away.

    I personally thought awful jerk drivers were only in Phoenix, AZ, having lived in NV and CA, too. I had an encounter much like yours -- in the parking lot of a church right before Sunday service!! I guess they only needed to be good Christians while actually inside the church, not in the rest of their daily lives. I had looked forward to moving elsewhere to get away from them, but, it sounds like they're everywhere!!

    Love your blog, it cracks me up.

  19. Teeheehehehee! Girl, you're a hoot! I can always count on a good recipe and a laugh. Thanks!

  20. Definitely saving this for a bad day when I need to picture myself smashing someone!

    I love your blog! This post made my day :)

  21. I love this blog. I've never seen anybody put out such a consistent level of quality, quantity and just plain beautiful stuff. Thank you?

  22. Hey! I like elephant seals! They can't help it if they look kinda grody when they molt.

  23. Maybe if Mr. SUV ate a few more homemade macarons of the Humble variety, and spent less time annoying and endangering brilliant scientist moms who happen to cook and bake like magic and are tremendously funny, the world would be a better place. Just sayin'.

  24. Ooops. I hear you. I would smash someone door as well :D

  25. molting elephant seal!!! haha! i will make this in your honor and beat it to hell as though it were that man's hood. lol

  26. Sorry about the altercation, but it was a good excuse for a southern dessert. :-)

    My mother (I'm from south Georgia) taught me to cook the (raw) peanuts in the sugar/syrup mixture. Spanish peanuts are better than Virginia (smaller, more flavorful) but are hard to find.

  27. I never knew peanut brittle was so violent...Definitely keeping this in mind for the next time I want to strangle someone! :)

  28. YUM-this looks absolutely delicious. My teeth might hate me for it, but I'm just going to have to whip up a batch of this stuff ;)


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