Buttery, crunchy caramel studded with a variety of your favorite roasted nuts - the perfect marriage of sweet and salty. Called brittle because it breaks easily, this sugary confection keeps well and even tastes better after a day or two. Covering the pan in the first stage of cooking washes down the sides of the pan and keeps sugar crystals from forming that could ruin the candy’s texture. Exercise extreme caution when pouring the liquefied sugar onto the baking sheet - you do not want to get it on your skin!
Preheat oven to its lowest setting (between 150 and 200 degrees F). Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat; set aside until needed.
Spread nuts on an unlined baking sheet and place in oven until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven; add 1 tablespoon of butter and the salt. Stir to evenly coat the nuts, then return them to oven and keep warm.
Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir just to combine, then cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan so that the tip is submerged but not resting on the bottom of the pan. Cook at a rapid boil, without stirring, until the thermometer registers 310 degrees F (hard crack stage).
Stir in butter; the temperature will drop, continue cooking, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 330 degrees F (caramel stage). Remove from heat, then immediately stir in warm nuts, vanilla and baking soda. Stir constantly and vigorously for about 15 seconds, then pour onto silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Spray two forks with vegetable oil spray and use them to stretch the hot candy on the baking sheet, producing a thin even layer.
If desired, once the brittle has cooled enough to touch but is still pliable, it may be pulled from the edges to stretch it and make it even thinner. Allow to cool completely, then break into bite-size pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature 6. ure for up to two weeks.
Tips and Techniques
Variations: Substitute your favorite nut for the mixed nuts. For Rainforest Brittle, use cashews and Brazil nuts in place of the mixed nuts. For Hawaiian Brittle, use all macadamia nuts, and substitute dark rum for the vanilla extract. For Kentucky Brittle, use all pecans, and substitute bourbon for the vanilla extract.
Makes 2 pounds
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