This week’s recipe for Sweet Melissa Sundays was chosen by Stephanie of Ice Cream before Dinner. Her selection of Roasted Cashew Brittle was welcomed with open arms in our household because it didn’t require turning on the oven (we had freaky temps in the 80s this past weekend! This is MN, not CA or AZ!!). Anyhoo. Given the amount of trouble this recipe gave to some of the SMS-ers and how different it was from my go-to brittle recipe, I decided to not take any chances of wasting ingredients, and just make my standby brittle recipe. And I hadn’t made brittle in ages, so Stephanie’s pick couldn’t have come at a better time.
Although I have lots of nut allergies, I can eat cashews. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any on hand and no time to run to the store, so I used almonds instead (I had toasted a bunch of almonds a couple weeks back for snacking and still had some left). To make the brittle even more interesting I like to add ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper for a little kick! So I made Spicy Almond Brittle instead.
|Spicy golden brittle studded with toasted almonds|
|Mise en place|
Spicy Almond Brittle
***The weight measurements are my own addition***
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
1/2 cup (5.5 oz) corn syrup
1/4 cup (2 oz) water
1 cup whole (un)blanched almonds, toasted and very coarsely chopped (I cut each almond in three pieces)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp (un)salted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- Mise en place is critical here, meaning, get all your ingredients measured and ready. You don’t want to be unwrapping and cutting into your stick of butter when the sugar’s boiling at 300F.
- Spray a large cookie sheet or a marble slab with non-stick spray (you could use butter but I think it’s a waste of butter).
- Have ready a heatproof silicone spatula and a cup of very hot water.
- Spray the inside of a heavy-bottom saucepan with non-stick spray.
- Attach a candy thermometer to your pan.
- Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water, and bring to a boil over medium-heat. Continue to boil until the temperature reaches 290F, stirring occasionally. Contrary to what many cookbooks tell you, I like to stir my hot sugar mixture. I find that my sugar mixture caramelizes more evenly that way. Important note: after you’re done stirring, put your spatula in your cup of very hot water to dissolve the sugar. That way, when you use it to stir again later, you won’t introduce any sugar crystals.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the chopped almonds and the rest of the ingredients. It will become hard to stir and it will look like the mixture seized. No worries.
- Return the pan to the heat and continue stirring. The mixture will automatically loosen up as it is reheated. Once the mixture hits 290F again, take the pan off the heat and pour the mixture onto your prepared cookie sheet or marble slab. Try to pour it as thin as possible so that the nuts are in one layer. If you have a clump of nuts on top of each other, just press them down with your spatula.
- Let the brittle cool for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then break it into irregular pieces. Careful: the edges are very sharp.
|My free-form Almond Brittle on my marble slab|
- This isn't the first time I've made this recipe. It made a welcome comeback in our house. Hubby enjoyed it, and so did my coworkers today. Hubby's rating: 9 out of 10.
- One of the most important thing in this recipe is preventing sugar crystals. I've found over and over again that spraying the inside of the pan with non-stick spray does the trick every time.
- When I make caramel, I eyeball the "amber color" I'm looking for. However, with this recipe, you really need to use your candy thermometer.
- A big thanks to Stephanie for getting me back into candy making.
- Don't forget to check out the SMS blog roll.