I had wanted to make my own beer brittle for a while now.
Throughout my years of baking, I'd never made brittle at all. Last year, I tried once without a candy thermometer...and it went horribly. It never hardened. If I could give you two pieces of advice about making your own brittle, it would be to A) buy a candy thermometer and B) when you think your brittle is done, cook it for another few minutes. There's nothing more disappointing than having brittle that doesn't harden.
With all that said, it's a pretty simple recipe. Toward the end of the cooking, you need to be vigilant and keep stirring. Otherwise, the bottom of the brittle can burn - and no one wants that smell in their home! You want the brittle batter to be quite viscous and almost to the point where it will burn. A good brittle will harden almost immediately when you add the fixins' and pour it onto the cookie sheet.
For this recipe, I'd encourage you to use a seasonal beer with lots of spices and pumpkin flavor. Be sure to consult Barnivore if you need to check if your booze is vegan.
Adapted from The Food Network
1 1/2 c. organic cane sugar
6 oz. pumpkin beer
1 1/2 T pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. salted pepitas (or other seeds)
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray it lightly with olive oil or coconut oil. Set aside.
Using a large, heavy-bottomed pan, attach your candy thermometer to it. Over medium-high heat, combine your sugar, beer, syrup, and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Your thermometer should read at least 220 degrees before you even consider mixing in the pepitas.
Before your eyes, you should see the mixture change from a watery mix, to a bubbly boil, to a dense, viscous liquid. Stir with a wooden spoon regularly. This process should take no less than 30 minutes.
When it's ready, add in your pepitas. Stir a few more times (if the mixture will allow). Remove the brittle from the heat and pour it onto the prepared cookie sheet. Spread the brittle out and smooth it as evenly as possible.
Allow it to harden at room temperature.
These chunks of brittle make great gifts for guys who are difficult to shop for.