Even though making brittle for the first few times can be a little overwhelming, don’t think of it as complicated or difficult – it doesn’t have to be! Once you get the hang of making brittle, it’s actually quite simple and quick to make. Plus, it only takes a few ingredients, most of which are usually on hand. Below are a few tips for wonderful, homemade nut brittle to encourage you on your candy making journey!
- Be prepared! This is absolutely KEY when working with hot sugar and caramel for brittle. Have all your ingredients measured out and ready to go, along with the necessary tools: silicone spatula, whisk, candy thermometer, and a large, rimmed, greased or nonstick baking sheet (or use a baking sheet lined with a sil pat).
- Go Big or Go Home. Be sure to use a nice LARGE saucepan when creating brittle. When you add the baking soda towards the end of the recipe, this will cause the caramel to bubble up in a BIG way, and it’s no fun if the contents of your saucepan overflow creating one gigantic messy mess. No need to go there!
- Don’t be a Nervous Nellie. Once you’ve combined the sugar, water, butter and corn syrup, let them come to a boil without stirring very often, or at all, if possible. It’s best to just gently SWIRL the caramel in the pan, though few of us can actually DO that when this luscious, bubbly mixture is before us on the burner. Be strong!
- Does one HAVE to have a candy thermometer to make brittle? It IS helpful, especially the first few times you make brittle, but it’s not an absolute necessity. Once you see the color of the caramel around the edges of the pan begin to change and darken, it’s time to turn down your heat a bit, continuing to occasionally swirl the caramel in your pan. Be careful – when the caramel begins to brown, eventually turning a dark amber color, this will happen very quickly. Don’t burn your brittle – that’s a total bummer.
- Think Speedy Gonzalez. When you pour the brittle out of your saucepan and onto the baking sheet, do so as quickly as possible, then gently spread brittle out using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Let it kind of do as it wants to, but it’s best if it’s not TOO thick or you’re likely to send someone to the dentist. If you’re having difficulty spreading your brittle out, wait a bit for it to cool slightly, then don some rubber gloves and gently use your hands to pull your brittle mound out a bit, which will help to make it thinner and also in separating the nuts apart from each other as well. Now the hardest part: just walk away and let your brittle cool completely. Yes, I know you’ll be tempted to snitch a little bite, but it’s better to wait if you can. Return later for the official “break up” party, then place your brittle shards into an air tight container until you’re ready to dole it out.
Here’s a great recipe for Sunflower Nut Brittle – hope you’ll enjoy it.
Now You’re Cookin’,