My post on whether to Brittle or to Butterle debated – among other things – whether to use roasted salted cashew nuts or raw cashew nuts in nut brittle, and also whether to use butter or not. I decided to go the non-butter route for the first experiment, and solved the cashew nut issue quite easily: I used almonds.
This nut brittle recipe actually came from a chat with mum as she gardened; it’s a recipe she made successfully years ago based on a radio segment on what was the radio station back in the day, Springbok Radio. It’s so mind-bogglingly simple, she didn’t even have to write it down. I only googled to confirm any possible finer details, and found a reasonably corresponding recipe – including method – by David Rocco on the Cooking Channel website. I adjusted the quantities to match mum’s.
Including the nut roasting time, this took about 30 minutes to make. I can’t say how many pieces it made, as breaking the brittle by hand gives randomly shaped and sized pieces. Have a look at the picture of the setting brittle and the broken brittle to get an idea of how much the quantities used made.
2 cups sugar
2 cups almonds (I always like roasting the nuts as it brings out the flavour. Roast at 160C for 12 minutes.)
Baking tray (ideally 24cm x 24cm)
Oven gloves/ folded dishcloth for handling the pot and baking tray
Please remember that melted or melting sugar and any heated sugar syrup is very hot! It also makes any metal objects very hot. Throughout this process do not touch the sugar or syrup, the pot, or the baking tray once you have poured the mixture into it, with bare hands.
- Spray the baking tray very well with the non-stick spray.
- Heat the 2 cups of sugar in the pot on high heat (plate setting number 5) , stirring gently. I started with the plate at number 5 – with the waterless pot I use, this is considered high. Anything higher and your sugar will easily burn.
- Stir gently until the sugar starts to liquify. Gentle stirring is needed so that the sugar doesn’t “splash” up the sides of the pot. The sugar will go through a number of noticeable changes. The pictures below show the changes you can look out for – from crystally clumps to thin light coloured syrup to rich golden brown.
- When the syrup is the dark brown of the last picture above and all the sugar lumps have dissolved (help break them up with the spoon), turn the plate down to number 4, add the 2 cups of roasted almonds and mix well.
- Cook for just a little bit longer, making sure all the nuts are coated. Remove as soon as the mixture seems to be starting to bubble or foam. The timing of this is tricky as the sugar can burn pretty quickly. I think I grabbed mine off the stove just in time, and next time will aim for removing the pot from the heat even sooner. I would take it off when it looks like this:rather than this – the change happens incredibly quickly! – which is when I took mine off. (It wasn’t actually burnt, but was certainly more cooked than I intended and almost nearly probably just about to burn):
- Quickly pour the mixture into the sprayed baking tray and spread and flatten to the thickness wanted, using the back of the spoon. (My tray was bigger than needed, so some of the syrup spread further than I wanted, leaving the nuts behind. Once poured, I used the wooden spoon to constantly scrape the syrup back to the actual “end” point of the brittle, where it soon stayed because it was cooling and hardening, as you can see on the second picture below.)
- Let cool for at least 30 minutes. See step 9 below if you want uniformly shaped and sized pieces.
- When cooled, twist the baking tray to release the set brittle.
- Break the brittle into smaller pieces. I like the random shapes and sizes created by simply breaking it by hand. Apparently, if you want uniformly cut pieces, let the brittle cool only till it is warm to the touch and cut into squares with a sharp knife. and leave to cool further. I may try this next time just to see how well it works.
- Store in an airtight container. Mum has this lovely jar she got from my sister-in-law for Christmas. It’s perfect for storing my candy and the little blackboard area on the front is fun to update with each new batch. (I use the term “storing” quite loosely, as the candy never lasts very long…)