- Butter a silicone baking liner or cookie sheet, as well as an offset spatula or icing knife, and set aside.
- Using a 1-quart saucepan, heat the sugar, corn syrup, salt and water over medium heat and cook until the sugar dissolves, stirring with a silicone spatula. Stir in the nuts, red pepper and bacon pieces. Cook the mixture until it registers 300° to 310° on a candy thermometer — it will form a long thread when you pull the spatula out. Depending on the pan and the efficiency of the burner, this can take up to 20 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and carefully but thoroughly stir in the 2 tablespoons butter and the baking soda (take care — the mixture will foam). Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared pan and, using the offset spatula or an icing knife, spread it into an even layer as thinly as possible. When the brittle is cool enough to handle (but still warm and pliant), use your hands (gloves can help) to stretch and pull it even thinner.
- When the brittle is cool, break it into pieces and serve, or store in an airtight tin.
Makes about one pound brittle