Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chocolate Cashew Brittle

My holiday dessert tray will not be complete without this delectable and crunchy nut brittle. I have already made a few batches of these. The variations are endless - roasted cashews with vanilla, peanuts paired with lightly toasted sesame seeds or even almonds with freshly ground cardamom.

Some of you may find brittle making rather daunting but this is a fool proof recipe. And no candy thermometer is required. Just don't walk away from the kitchen when attempting these crunchy delights because you could end up with bitter tasting brittle as the sugar will burn very quickly once it starts to turn amber. I had all my ingredients ready and prepared the baking sheet with Silpat before I started the whole process. Parchment paper will work as well.

A note about the butter - I always get unsalted butter . If you prefer salted butter that is fine too, just omit the salt. I bought pre-roasted, unsalted cashews.

Cashew Brittle
1 1/2 cup roasted cashews - roughly chopped
4 Tb unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
1 Tb pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tb corn syrup
1/3 cup of water

3/4 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate

Roughly chop roasted cashews.
Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper and set aside. If using parchment paper lightly grease it with butter.

Have butter, baking soda, vanilla and salt ready in a bowl and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pan, bring sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil on high heat. Boil sugar till it turns amber. It took me around 12 - 15 minutes. It will also start to get a little smoky at this point.
Remove pot from heat and stir in the ingredients that was set aside earlier. Stir quickly and add in the chopped nuts. I used my sturdy wooden spoon. Baking soda will make it foamy, so don't be alarmed!

Pour brittle onto prepared baking sheet and spread out as thinly as you can. Word of caution, DON"T lick the spoon, put it away in the sink..seriously, burnt sugar is VERY hot. If you want chocolate on it, sprinkle 3/4 cup of finely chopped semisweet on the brittle after the brittle is spread out. The hot brittle will melt the chocolate. Wait for 7 minutes and spread out the melted chocolate with a knife or a silicone spatula

This whole cooking process takes only 20 minutes tops. Can't beat that this time of the year.It makes a wonderful gift and it travels well.

Let it cool completely, break it into shards and enjoy!


Anonymous said...

MMM Nice

Jennifer said...

I love chocolate and cashews together. In fact, I just made some cookies using those very things. This looks delicious!

Brilynn said...

I like that no candy thermometer is involved, very nice!

Anonymous said...

Looks great. but how much water? It doesn't say in the recipe.

Maya said...

Oops! Thanks for letting me know about the water. It is 1/3 cup of water.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Maya, these are little pieces of heaven!
I have a bag of cashew nuts at home. ;)

Anonymous said...

Just tried this recipe but it ended up crumbly once I took it off the heat and added the butter, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and cashews. It went from clear, amber, and viscous to hazy and crumbly in about ten seconds. I couldn't spread it out once on the pan. The cashews were pretty salty, would that throw things off? Are the proportions correct in the recipe? Any suggestions?

Maya said...

HI :

A few things could have gone wrong:
- it only takes a split second for the sugar to turn into a rogue. It has to be taken off heat as soon as it turns amber.

- was there a mound of sugar on the middle of the pot that did not turn amber? Were there sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pot during cooking?

-as the recipe says, unsalted cashews are to be added after the other ingredients are added to the sugar. The butter, baking soda, salt have to be mixed in before adding nuts. You have to work very fast at this point.

- I have made this for 7 years now and it had turned out perfect every time...

Anonymous said...

No mound of sugar in the middle of the pot. There were a few sugar crystals on the side of the pot, but very little. It definitely turned amber, but I may have cooked the sugar mixture too long. I'll try it again.

Anonymous said...

How many servings can this recipe make?

Anonymous said...

This is the easiest brittle I've ever made, and the best. I made several batches as gifts and the quality is consistent through out them. I did lower the chocolate chips to 2/3 cup and used dry roasted salted cashews, as well as salted butter and it still came out wonderful. The color changes in a flash. You cook minute after minute with it clear and suddenly it's changing. Within about 30 seconds it's very dark, so don't leave the area!

Anonymous said...

Hi Maya, this looks super yummy! Could you recommend an alternative to corn syrup? I'd love to make some for my mother as a Christmas treat but she is allergic to corn syrup.
Thanks very much, Katherine