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feeling cheeky

Recipe: peanut brittle

Here now, I don’t have a recipe for you in the typical step-by-step today. I have been cooking, just not documenting as lovingly as usual because it’s been hectic lately and a fraction of my daylight hours have been devoted to snow worship… Not to mention the ramp up of the ARP (ass reduction plan) leaves me pretty hungry and somewhat spent, so not a lot of patience for shooting intermediate steps. But my body is adjusting quickly and I’ll be back on it soon enough. My endorphins are flowing, my muscles are rock hard, and that waistline is shrinking. I shit you not, kids. Hyperactivity has its benefits.

After my run and bike the other day, I prepared a lunch of kale and fettuccine in homemade tomato and garlic sauce and it truly rocked my world. I don’t quite understand people who go on those ridiculous fad diets – eat carbs, don’t eat carbs, eat fat, don’t eat fat, eat meat, don’t eat meat. Moderation in all things, eh? And if you’d get ye lard butt of ye couch, perhaps it wouldn’t really matter if you had that Slice of Yum.

carbo loading?

Hmmm, what else… after I made the mac nut brittle, I gave it all away. I like to make sweets, sample them, and then get rid of them. Sort of a relative ass reduction plan (rARP) because you make all of the people around you fat so that you appear relatively slimmer. It’s a joke. A joke! I wanted to make peanut brittle – the buttery kind, not the glassy kind. HolyBasil mentioned that her mom used to make it. So on a lark I looked up a recipe last night and within the hour had a batch of this:

chunky brittle and stretchy brittle

The recipe said I could pull the brittle as it cooled, so I pulled some of it, but when you break that up it sends little delicate shards of buttery brittle all over the place. Makes a mess. My dog has been licking the floor around the table more than usual today. I like it because it’s closer to toffee than the other brittle and I’m just a sucker for that stuff. Oh, but skinning Spanish peanuts is not a fun activity for a Friday night.

Peanut Brittle
[print recipe]
from the Nut Factory

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
2 cups raw Spanish peanuts
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsps butter
2 tsps baking soda

Heat and stir sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy saucepan until sugar dissolves. Add salt. Cook over medium heat to and add peanuts at 250°F. Continue cooking to 290°F, stirring often. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and baking soda. Beat to a froth for a few seconds and pour onto well-buttered pan(s) or silpat, spreading with spatula. If desired, cool slightly and pull with forks (or fingers) to stretch thin. Break up when cold. Makes 1-1/2 pounds of peanut brittle.


Of course, that brittle was a most welcome sight this evening after skiing a whole day at Vail. Vail is delicious. If ski resorts were desserts, Vail would be my crème brûlée.

So who got some of that mac nut brittle? One of them is Liz, my bud. She and I are tracking one another’s ARP – Liz in Oregon and me in Colorado. She is also a tele skier and you know what that means… she’s a Rock Star. In addition to a few other confections, I sent her a scarf I knit from truly gorgeous Manos del Uruguay. Like a superhero, I have many hidden powers. I just don’t have telekinesis – yet.

the colorway is called flame, for someone who burns up the slopes

A real post soon, I swear it. Unless we go to Breckenridge tomorrow :)

13 nibbles at “feeling cheeky”

  1. Bridget says:

    Great post, and beautiful scarf.

    I few years ago I took up Pudge Eradication. And I didn’t give up any foods for it, including dessert! But I did ramp up exercise by quite a bit, and it started a trend for me of eating lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. It was pretty effective! And while the extra exercise routine didn’t last, the fruits, vegetables and self-control did!

    Ah, skiing…I’m so jealous.

  2. Caitlin says:

    Beautiful pictures, and I love the color of that scarf. I’m feeling like I should make that brittle recipe though – I’ve never seen one with so little butter in it!

  3. Ashley says:

    Beautiful scarf! And I completely agree about the fad diets.

  4. Annemarie says:

    I do like the sound of your kale and fettucine – wouldn’t have thought of combining those two but you do have my thoughts buzzing now and would like to try it.

  5. Chris says:

    mmmmm – kale and fettucine. Want some…and the brittle…think I could use it as a scoop for the kale and fettucine? Ha!!!

  6. Kelly Mahoney says:

    What a great combo of kale and pasta. Looks lovely. I do love my carbs.

  7. Christine says:

    Jen, how does one whip up a batch of peanut brittle so nice in less than an hour? How do you that and ski and knit and photograph and cook? Is it in the water you drink? And can we buy this water somewhere?

    I dig your carbo-loading a bunch :) For me, diets that deprive suck the life out of you and simply don’t last. Moderation and diversity + butt-kicking exercise have worked much better for me. Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one subscribing to the relative ARP – though it’s not as effective when my hubby’s metabolism is that of a gazelle.

  8. Weekly Salad 2: Gỏi Đu Đủ - Green Papaya Salad « Hot.Sour.Salty.Sweet. And Umami says:

    […] tossed salad. It’s high on flavor yet very low in fat and calories – good for anyone on an ARP or just wanting to eat […]

  9. jenyu says:

    Bridget – good for you! I love fruits and vegetables and I’m glad I do – makes eating healthier a cinch.

    Caitlin – yup, this one is almost pure sugar. I actually like the buttery brittles better, however this one is much prettier (good for decorating pastries).

    Ashley – thanks!

    Annemarie – you know, I just prepared the pasta and sauteed the chopped kale separately – then tossed them together.

    Chris – ha ha!

    Kelly – I don’t know what my volleyball team would have done without carbs! :)

    Christine – ah ha! YOU’RE being cheeky now :) The brittle is really simple as long as the caramelized sugar doesn’t tank. As for all of my activities… I’m not currently working and I’m also hyper active – great time to get stuff done! Here’s some advice on the rARP – don’t include your skinny hubby in the sampling. I am never going to be thinner than Jeremy (another tall thin dude who can eat chocolate 24/7 and never gain an ounce), so he doesn’t count in the “relative” group :)

  10. Tartelette says:

    Totally with you on the “everything in moderation” part. I often get emails asking if I eat a lot of the things I make. I eat a serving, keep one in case of a craving emergency and share the rest! The pasta is gorgeous, the brittle is nutty fantastic and the scarf is so beautiful!

  11. jenyu says:

    Tartelette – I could easily eat everything you make. You create the most gorgeous pastries! But yes, I tend to taste the sweets I make and then dole them out to others. I think I just love making the stuff more than eating it… good thing too :)

  12. Maria says:

    Hi Jen! I’m a knitter too! That’s a lovely scarf and I would like to know what kind of stitch that is! Can you please share? I hope it’s only knits and purls because that’s all I know how to do! :)

  13. jenyu says:

    Hi Maria – I’m not a very good knitter, so if *I* can do the pattern, you most certainly can :) It’s called My So Called Scarf and the pattern is online here:

    It’s a beautiful pattern and if any of the stitches confuse you, go here:

    I’ve found that glossary with video to be enormously helpful. Good luck!

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