Here’s a question for you – do you prefer to say “Brittle” or “Brickle? I’ve always said brittle, myself, but this is one point where The Fiancé and I differ. He says brickle, I say brittle… let’s call the whole thing off!
Whatever you call it,
brickle brittle has got to be my single favorite candy. First, I love nuts… then I also love caramel… then, if things get crazy, you can dip the whole thing in chocolate and have some holy candy trinity of some sort.
Mind-blowing, I know.
As if that weren’t reason enough, brittle is also incredibly simple to make. I mean, really… have a candy thermometer, and the sense not to burn yourself on hot sugar (ahem… learned that one the hard way) and before you know it your kitchen will have been converted to a small-batch brittle operation. Or at least, mine has been. We can’t get enough!
The Fiancé likes to mix things up with different types of nuts, but if you’d prefer to go old school you can use just peanuts. Or, if you’re really out there, you can swap the nuts for seeds, or breakfast cereal, or tortilla chips… or whatever. Versatility, just another reason to love brittle!
To make things extra-fancy, I like to add a sprinkle of fleur de sel (sea salt) over the top. I like the little pops of saltiness this gives, as opposed to adding salt directly to the sugar itself. Plus it sounds schmancy ‘with sea salt’.
Because it’s so easy, inexpensive, and always sure to please, this brittle has become one of my favorite go-to gifts for the holidays. It also keeps well, and can be made up to a few weeks in advance, which is a major bonus for all you plan-ahead types. But, if you’re freaking out right now (like I am), still looking for ways to fill in the gaps on your holiday shopping list, I think I might just have the perfect solution…
Just be sure to make an extra batch for yourself, because there’s no telling how quickly it will disappear!
Recipe Notes: I’ve heard that brittle can easily be made vegan by substituting the butter for Earth Balance – but when I tried this, the brittle had an unpleasant, vegetable-oil taste to it. If I were to try it again, I might try using coconut oil instead.
Multi-Nut Brittle with Sea Salt
Recipe adapted from Brittles, Barks and Bonbons
3 TBSP unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3rd cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1 TBSP vanilla extract
2 – 2 1/2 cups roasted and salted nuts (mixed, or all of one kind)*
Fleur de sel, or course sea salt, for sprinkling on top
*I used 1 1/2 cups peanuts, 1/2 cup almonds, and 1/2 cup cashews – other nuts or seeds would be great as well. We like a lot of nuts in our brittle, but keep in mind the more nuts the harder it is to spread the candy thinly. If using larger nuts, I suggest giving them a rough chop first.
1. Thoroughly grease a rimmed baking sheet and a flexible rubber spatula with butter, and set aside.
2. Have all your ingredients measured and ready before you begin (you don’t want to be rushing around once the sugar gets up to temperature!).
3. In a high-sided sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly but gently until the sugar has dissolved.
4. Once bubbly, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and allow the mixture to cook, stirring occasionally, until it has reached 335-340f. The frothing will die down and the syrup will start to look golden around the 300 degree mark – just give it a stir and keep going.
5. When the mixture reaches temperature, remove the candy thermometer and turn off the heat. Stand back a little, and quickly stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract. Add the nuts, give a quick stir, and immediately pour onto your prepared pan.
6. Quickly spread the mixture with your greased spatula to desired thickness, and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Let cool completely before smashing or breaking into pieces.
(Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a few weeks).
*Update, 1/30/13: I thought this brittle couldn’t get any better, but then The Fiance and I tried roasting our own almonds — the flavor is incredible! Roasting your own nuts is easy. Just toss with a TBSP or so of melted butter and a big pinch of salt, and roast in the oven at 350f. for 6-8 minutes or until fragrant, stirring every couple of minutes to keep them from burning.