Long time no hear! I’m so happy to be back up and running and to be able to bring you a new recipe. The reason for my absence was twofold. Firstly, we went away to the Pembrokeshire coast for a few days during the week and it was so lovely. We really lucked out and had amazing weather for the entire trip. We managed to do two (10km and 15km) hikes over the cliffs on two consecutive days and while the terrain was at times challenging – the climbs were way steeper than what we anticipated – the views were stunning and we had a great time. We treated ourselves to seaside chips and beer in the sunshine on the last day and vowed to come back sometime later this year.
On Sunday, I had my first Covid vaccination and while I felt absolutely fine until midnight that day, things did not look that good the following morning. I woke up feeling really unwell and spent the next 2 days sleeping as much as I could as I was unable to do anything else, not even read. I had a splitting headache, chills and felt extremely nauseous and ended up being sick.
Wednesday and Thursday were considerably better, but I was still really weak, my brain was foggy and I got tired really easily, doing even the simplest things. I certainly had more of a severe reaction than what the NHS described as ‘feeling a little unwell’ and I wish I had known that it may feel this bad. I asked the person injecting me if I should expect a more intense reaction due to the fact that I once had Covid, but she assured me that it doesn’t really matter. Well, apparently it does. I am hoping the booster will be a little easier on me.
So anyway, I feel almost 100% again and so I’m back with a new recipe. I went for something easy as I wasn’t quite sure how much energy I was going to have on the shooting day. If you are a lover of peanuts and chocolate and all things crunchy, you’ll love this recipe. I am not sure what to call it. As opposed to a brittle, I did not use any corn syrup or white sugar or a thermometer and made the entire thing in the oven so my ‘brittle’ is not only much more rustic than the traditional candy, it is also much simpler to make.
It marries some of my favourite flavour and texture contrasts. Sweet maple syrup gets a relief with the savoury flavour of peanuts, bitter-sweet chocolate and a hefty pinch of flaky salt. The whole thing is crunchy and moreish and can be cut up as small as you like if you are a powerhouse of restraint – alas, I’m not!! It makes a perfect ‘amuse-bouche’ (don’t you love that succinct to-the-pointness of that French phrase) when you find yourself scouring your kitchen in search of something satisfying to go with your afternoon coffee even though, earlier on, you didn’t even feel like it’s that kind of day. Or is it just me? Anyway, enjoy!
- Preheat the oven to 170° C / 340° F (no fan).
- Roast the peanuts on a large baking tray until lightly golden, for about 8-10 minutes.
- Allow the nuts to cool down, then chop them roughly, leaving some peanuts whole and chopping some of them quite finely. You want a mixture of textures so that smaller pieces can fill the gaps between the larger ones.
- Mix maple syrup, peanut butter and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
- Mix in chopped peanuts, stirring until well coated.
- Line a large baking tray with a piece of greaseproof baking paper. Spread the peanut butter mixture thinly ensuring there are no gaps and all the nuts are in a single layer. Just as a rough guide, my shape was an almost circle, approximately 27 cm / 10½” in diameter.
- Bake in a 170° C / 340° F oven for about 10 minutes (see photos for after baking texture). Remove from the oven and allow it to cool down completely.
- Melt chocolate over a double boiler / bain marie. Spread melted chocolate with the back of a spoon or pastry brush. Allow the chocolate to set (or almost set) and then sprinkle with salt. Break or cut the sweet up into pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.