Brittle is a sweet, sticky, crunchy treat made from hardened sugar and nuts. It’s considered an American recipe stumbled on by accident. One story says a Southern woman created it when making taffy in 1890. She used baking soda instead of cream of tartar. Being a waste-not-want-not person, she just kept cooking and the blend turned into brittle. Another tale is more like a folk myth, claiming the lumberjack, Tony Beaver, made it when he used peanuts and molasses to stop a flood.
While many make peanut brittle, other parts of the world are different. In the Middle East, recipes often call for pistachios. In Asia, the star is sesame seeds. While this recipe goes the traditional route of using unsalted peanuts, you have other options including walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds (just to name a few).
The beauty of this Brittle blend is it is really no-fuss. You’ll be using the microwave! How long will you slave over your yummy candy? About 15 minutes.
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract **
- 1 teaspoon salted butter
- 1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
** If you are using a different type of nut, you can match the extract to that flavor. Numerous nut extracts are readily available online or at the supermarket.
- Spray a 9x13” baking sheet with cooking oil.
- Mix together the nuts with the nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Put the sugar and corn syrup in a large microwave-safe bowl (one with a handle is ideal since this gets really hot).
- Stir thoroughly.
- Microwave the sugar on high for 4 minutes.
- Remove front the microwave using oven mitts.
- Return to the microwave until the mixture turns a light-golden hue (about 4 minutes).
- CAUTION: if the sugar turns brown, it’s burnt and cannot be used.
- After the second heating swiftly add the spices, nuts, vanilla, baking soda, and butter.
- Stir so everything combines evenly. The mixture will begin to get slightly fluffy.
- Apply spray oil to the rim of the mixing bowl.
- Quickly pour it onto the baking sheet using a spoon (sprayed with oil) to spread it as evenly as possible.
- Wait one hour for the brittle to firm up.
- Dab gently with a paper towel any spots that feel a little greasy.
- Crack as desired.