I’m still enjoying a relaxing vacation at Boyfriend’s home in Virginia but I can’t help but miss the daily rhythm of home. Since I arrived a week ago, we went on a road trip to South Carolina to visit his family and paid a visit to Baltimore’s famed Lexington Market. In between all those traveling, we somehow managed a few lazy days at home with such domestic activities as trips to IKEA, Wegman’s, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart. Cooking and baking are my way to unwind. Boyfriend is only too happy to oblige with dinners at home so he can watch his beloved football games.
Although I can make more elaborate meals, I decided to really take a vacation and kept things simple. I made us a big pot of beef & bean chilli using his stash of grass-fed beef patties in the freezer. I also made a batch of Northern-style cornbread from (gasp!) Trader Joe’s boxed mix which is in fact excellent. For dessert, fresh baked Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies were indeed perfect. We ate them with glasses of raw milk and made ice-cream sandwiches with Cherry Garcia. Simple honest home cooked meal is the theme of the week. However, don’t be mistaken that we don’t have treats to go around during the holiday season. I packed my suitcase full of homemade candies and one of them is Peanut Brittle with Dark Chocolate & Pretzels.
Crunchy sweet toffee paired with dark chocolate is an irresistible combination to me. Add to that the mix of salty sweet roasted peanuts and pretzel is something I enjoy very much. It’s awfully fun to break up the big piece of toffee into smaller pieces though I prefer to keep the pieces on the larger size for nibbling. Boyfriend and I both agree that this is the perfect snack to accompany football games with its classic stadium junk food ingredients.
Peanut Brittle with Dark Chocolate & Pretzels
- 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup broken pretzel pieces
- Line a 11x17 sheet pan with silicone liner. Scatter roasted peanuts onto the pan about the area of 11x8.5. Set aside.
- In a medium heavy bottom sauce pan, mix together water, butter, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Cook on medium-high heat undisturbed, swirl occasionally to make sure all ingredients are combined. Using a candy or digital thermometer, cook the mixture until it reaches 300F. Remove from heat.
- Add baking soda and vanilla extract to caramel. Stand back as it will sputter and bubble. Give the caramel a good stir with a silicone spatula and gently pour over peanuts on the prepared pan to cover all the nuts.
- Spoon chopped chocolate over toffee and wait for a minute for it to melt. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate to cover the toffee evenly. Scatter pretzel pieces on top and gently press them on.
- Let the toffee cool to harden, about a couple of hours. Break into pieces and store in airtight container for up to a week.