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Mixed Nut Brittle and Chocolate Coins for St. Nicholas & Hanukkah




Chocolate Coins

Chocolate Coins

DSCN6107                                                              Simple Mixed Nut Brittle for St. Nicholas 

I’ll be talking this Thursday with Matt Swaim, as usual, on the Sonrise Morning show. We’ll be chatting about the feast of St. Nicholas.

First, some history. Nicholas, born in a section of Greece which is now part of Turkey.

Nicholas came from wealthy parents who died when he was young. They taught him good Christian values, and he used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. Each night, Nicholas would disguise himself and deliver such items as food, clothing and money to the people of his village.

Of all the townspeople, Nicholas felt the closest bond with one specific family. This family had lost all their money, and the father needed to support his three daughters who could not find husbands because of their poverty. In those days a dowry was necessary to marry. Nicholas became informed of this, and anonymously took a bag of gold coins  and threw it into an open window of the man’s house in the night. The legend is that it landed in a pair of shoes or socks that were left by the fire to dry. He gave the other 2 daughters enough gold for their dowries, too.

This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Where does Santa Claus fit in this picture?

It was the Dutch protestants actually of New Amsterdam (New York)  who introduced us to Sint Klaes/Santa Claus/Saint Nicholas.

And so at the beginning of Advent, we celebrate his feast day on December 6 by filling stockings with small gifts and also we put in fruit: a pomegranate. When we were kids, we put our regular socks on the bed posts. Now we hang fancy stockings on the mantle.

Along with gold chocolate coins associated with the feast (and also with Hanukkah)  is an almond candy, sort of like a brittle. Here’s an easy brittle recipe adapted from Melanie Barnard and a chocolate coin recipe  to share.


Chock full of nuts. That’s why I call it “loaded”. If you want more of brittle, use less nuts. Any nuts are good to use. I like a combo, but all almonds would be traditional. Here’s my latest adaptation.

1/2 stick butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn syrup – I’ve used both light and dark and prefer dark

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 cups salted mixed nuts or your favorite

Line cookie sheet with foil and spray it. Stir butter, sugar and corn syrup in heavy or nonstick pan over medium heat until sugar melts and mixture bubbles and becomes smooth. Cover and cook for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and nuts and cook, stirring constantly, until nuts are fragrant and golden brown, about 5 minutes or so. You’ll see an opaque, foamy look to the brittle. If you drop a bit into some ice water, it will become what I call “hard crack stage”, and when you bite it, it will have the texture of a lollipop. Pour onto foil, spreading thin.  Cool and break apart.  Store, tightly covered, at room temperature up to a week.


Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple/Second Temple in Jerusalem.  Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days.  It is also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of  the nine-branched menorah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night.

Golden chocolate coins are part of the festival. You can make your own. Really easy and coins can be left plain for chocolate coins, or simply sprinkled with golden sugar sprinkles or painted with edible gold luster dust, nuts, whatever.

To melt on stove: Just melt 2 cups chocolate wafers on low heat in nonstick pan just until they are almost melted completely.  Remove from heat and stir until smooth.

To melt in microwave: place in microwave safe bowl and melt in 30 second intervals, stirring as you go, until they are almost melted. Remove and stir until smooth.

Drop a nice spoonful of melted chocolate into nonstick mini muffin pans. No need to overdo. Thinner coins look nicer than real thick. You’ll get 18-14 coins.

You can also just drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper, then taking a spoon to smooth the top out a bit.

Sprinkling with gold sugar:  If using gold sugar sprinkle on as you go before chocolate starts to harden.

After hardening in refrigerator: Let harden and if using muffin tins turn pan over, tapping on bottom to push coins out.

To paint with edible gold luster: After coins are hardened, brush with luster. I turn mine upside down and brush the top and sides only.





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