The Tale of 2 Brittles (Nut, that is!)

imageAfter my presentation at a recent women’s’ conference, a participant asked if I could help with a nut brittle recipe.  “I had a slightly spicy pine nut brittle in New Mexico and would like to make it but with regular nuts,” she said. 

Now I’ve made brittles on top of the stove and in the microwave, and since the lady didn’t specify, I’m sharing both. All I had to do on the stovetop version is add cayenne to a classic recipe. It cooked up darker than the microwave version. 

Even if you don’t make these now, save the recipes for the holidays. You’ll thank me!

If you use the microwave, note that the timing may be a bit different from what’s specified depending upon wattage. That’s why I’m giving you detailed instructions. 

Spicy (or not) Stovetop Nut Brittle

All I had on hand were peanuts. Any nut works.

 If you have a candy thermometer, clip it onto the pan before cooking.

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons dark corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder  (opt – leave out for classic nut brittle)

1 to 1/2 cups salted nuts 

Instructions

Line baking sheet with foil and spray. 

In a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stir butter, sugar, salt and corn syrup until smooth and bubbly all over. Cover and cook 1 minute. This starts the brittle process. 

Stir in vanilla, cayenne and nuts. Raise heat to medium high and, stirring constantly, cook until syrup is dark golden, like the color of caramels. This takes about 5 minutes and is called hard crack stage, 300 degrees. Check by dropping a bit in ice water. If it’s at hard crack, the syrup will immediately become a brittle thread. If it doesn’t, cook a bit longer. During the last couple of minutes it gets dark fairly quick. 

IMG_0587Hard crack stage reached.

Pour onto sheet, spread thin. 

Let harden, break into pieces. 

Microwave nut brittle 1000 watts and up

Mine was cooked in a 1250 watt microwave. This recipe is for microwaves 1000 to 1250 watts. 

Ingredients

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 cup sugar

1 to 1-1/2 cups salted nuts

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder (opt)

1 teaspoon baking soda 

Instructions

Line baking sheet with foil and spray.

In a 2 quart measuring cup or bowl, stir in corn syrup and sugar. Microwave high 2 minutes. Stir in nuts. Microwave high 2 minutes or until light golden. 

Stir in salt, butter, vanilla and pepper. Microwave high 2-3-1/2 minutes until golden and hard crack stage. (See tip in stovetop recipe). 

Stir in baking soda (mixture will look opaque), pour onto sheet, spread thin, let harden, break into pieces.

Microwaves 700 to 950 watts

Use same ingredients but change cooking times.

Microwave corn syrup and sugar high 4 minutes.

Stir in nuts. Microwave high 3-1/2 minutes. 

Stir in salt, butter, vanilla and pepper.

Microwave high 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until golden, hard crack stage. (See tip in stovetop recipe.) 

Stir in baking soda, spread thin, let harden, break into pieces.

Tip:

Brittles keep up to a month, covered at room temperature.

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