The lead up to Christmas is always the best time to make confectionary and sweet treats that can be packaged and given as gifts. With this recipe, I’ve taken my buttercrunch brittle with salted peanut recipe from my book Sweet and added the spice from my spicy caramel corn to give it that festive vibe. It was delicious. I used a mix of almonds, cashews, hazel and brazil nuts to make this a little more special but any nut of your choice will do.
I love a good nut brittle but I’m not keen on cracking my teeth while eating it. The butter and baking soda in this recipe soften the candy to a manageable level of crunch. The high nut ratio also keeps things in check.
When making any kind of sugar confection I always use a digital thermometer. There is exact science at play here and I like to be precise. When sugar is heated it goes through the various stages of physical change. It will either set at a soft ball, hard ball all crack stage. You simply need to cook the caramel to the desired level to get the desired result. Here I take it to 147C or 296F. This takes a while, but I advise you to not leave the stove and keep a watchful eye.
Ensure that all your ingredients are measured out and ready when you start. Things move very quickly a the final stage. The toffee hardens very quickly so you need to get it onto the lined tray asap and spread it out as thin as possible. This was easier to do with smaller peanuts, and mine set a little too thick here. This just means I needed to smash it into smaller shards.
I recently procured a meat mallet for the first time in my love and every time I use it I wonder why it took me so long. I somehow managed to use a variety of other implements over the years including the bottom of my potato ricer, but the mallet is a much more effective tool.
I packaged these shards up into cellophane with pretty ribbon to give away as gifts.
- 60 ml / 1/4 cup water
- 200 gm / 7 ounces granulated white sugar
- 125 ml / 1/2 a cup corn syrup or liquid glucose
- 110 gm / 1 stick butter
- 200 gm / 7 ounces mixed roasted nuts
- 5 ml / 1 tsp ground cumin
- 5 ml / 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 ml 1/2 tsp paprika
- 5 ml / 1 tsp salt
- 5 ml / 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5ml / 1 tsp baking soda
Line a baking tray with baking paper
Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup or liquid glucose in a medium-size, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then bring to a bubbling boil. At this point, stir in the butter and leave to cook until the resulting caramel reaches 147 °C (296 F) on a sugar thermometer.
Remove from the heat, then add the vanilla extract, spices and bicarbonate of soda and stir quickly to coat. Immediately add the nuts and give it another super quick stir and then tip out onto the prepared baking tray. Spread it as evenly as possible.
Leave the brittle to cool and harden completely before breaking into shards and storing in an airtight container. If you leave it out it will attract moisture and start to soften.
A few of my festive favourite recipes:
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