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Peanut Brittle with Caramelized Cacao Nibs

Peanut Brittle with Caramelized Cacao Nibs

Makes about 16 servings

8 ounces (1 cup) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup roasted salted peanuts
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons caramelized cacao nibs

1. Butter a large rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

2. Combine the butter, sugar, almond extract, and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly with a clean, dry, wooden spoon until the butter is melted. Continue cooking and stirring until the candy mixture thickens and starts to foam up slightly. Add the peanuts and continue to stir until the candy is golden brown (the color of unblanched almonds). Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda (the mixture will bubble). Stir until just blended. Pour the candy, without scraping the saucepan, onto the baking sheet in an even layer and spread with a lightly greased spatula.

3. Sprinkle the cacao nibs over the hot candy, then let it cool completely. Break into pieces. The brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Caramelized Cacao Nibs

Makes about 1/2 cup

2.25 ounces raw cacao nibs (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter, softened

1. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick mat or parchment paper and set aside. Pre-measure the butter and have it near the stove.

2. Heat the nibs and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. It is normal for the mixture to give off a little smoke during the cooking process. The sugar will start to stick together in larger clumps. Continue to stir constantly, until the sugar liquefies and there are only a few specks of unincorporated sugar. Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately stir in the butter until it is evenly distributed.

3. Pour the nibs out onto the prepared baking sheet to cool, separating them as much as possible. Let them cool at room temperature. When they are cool, break them apart by hand as needed. Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place, but do not refrigerate.