Kitchen Tip #5 – Better Brittle Blocks

Last week I made my first sweets to order, a batch of cashew brittle. As always I used my Quick Quick Brittle recipe, as the Christmas gifts of brittle had led to the request this time around.

Because this batch would be paid for, and was to be given as a Fathers Day gift, I really wanted the presentation to be better than just the randomly shaped pieces which is generally the case with nut brittle. Cutting brittle into squares is really not easy to do, even though a number of recipes say that you can if you choose to. The funny thing is, when looking for actual instructions for cutting more uniform pieces as suggested, most bloggers and recipe-sharers seem to avoid the “how” simply saying “score the brittle after it has set for just a few minutes if you want squares. However, I like the random shapes, so will show that.” A sweet little cop-out if you ask me!

So, here are my tips for getting more square pieces than broken shards (I don’t guarantee all uniform pieces – I’m sure you can, but I still got a few bits that broke where they wanted to, not where I wanted them to):

  1. Once set hard, release the sheet of brittle from the baking tray/ tin and turn it upside down on a cutting surface larger than the brittle, so that you are looking at the smooth underside (instead of the bumpy nutty top surface).
  2. Using a clean ruler, and a sharp serrated knife, gently “saw” score lines about 0.5 to 1 mm deep in the smooth surface, at intervals that will give you the width you want for the squares. (moving the ruler along the long side) This was the real “trick” – I generally use a sharp smooth-blade knife for cutting sweets, but here a sharp steak-knife was the best option. You don’t want to crack the brittle, just saw into it like slicing bread.
  3. Now, lift the slab 0f brittle, hold securely in one hand, and with the other hand in the middle of the short side, with fingertips close to the score-line closest to the edge, carefully break the strip created by that score-line. Repeat until all the strips have been broken in this way.
  4. Take each strip individually, turn upside down, and score the smooth side at intervals to complete your blocks.
  5. Carefully break each block off at the score-line.
  6. Voila! – more uniform blocks of brittle.IMG-20140614-01452

 

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