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- 1 stick butter – real butter – not that light crap
- 2/3 cup sugar – I use a 1/2 cup measure and heap it
- 1/2 cup maple syrup – REAL syrup, from Amish trees
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1 vanilla bean – not that extract crap
- 1 cup peanuts – dry roasted, unsalted
- 1 tsp. salt – use less/none if you use saltier bacon
- 1/3 cup bacon – very crispy, finely chopped, cold. The smokier/saltier, the better.
- Large sauce pan – use highest heat the whole time
- Wooden spoon
- Cookie sheet, lined with foil and sprayed with Pam
- Cooling rack
Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the pods. Melt the butter, sugar, maple syrup, salt, vanilla pods and corn syrup together (you may want to nuke the corn syrup for 20 seconds so it pours into the pot easier). Heat to a bubbling boil. Add peanuts and stir. Keep stirring. Keep stirring. You’re doing great – keep stirring.
So, this is the part where everyone screws up the recipe. I’ve heard you’re supposed to heat it until a candy thermometer shows 290 degrees, but I don’t own and have never used one of those. Candy thermometers are for sissies. Instead, I judge doneness by color and consistency. After 5-10 minutes, the candy mixture will start to darken slightly, thicken and boil less. At that moment, add the bacon and stir it in. Over the next minute or two, the mixture will darken a little more, and at some point you need to pull it off the stove. It’s instinctive – burn a couple batches and you’ll learn (once you get it, you’ll never miss it again).
Quickly pour the mixture onto your baking sheet and spread it. If you think the mixture might be overdone, toss it immediately into the fridge to stop it from cooking any longer. If it’s still a lighter, carmel color, you can leave it out or fridge it, your choice. Let it cool until it’s, well, brittle. Bust it up, and enjoy!