Citizens, one of the great sweet confectionary triumphs must be brittle – usually in the U.S., this is peanut brittle but I have decided to take a decidedly fusion approach to brittle, combining middle Eastern, Indian and American ingredients in a whole new way! There is no historic provenance for this recipe, unlike virtually every other one here at TFD – but it is a delicious new hybrid indeed!
Brittle is a type of confection consisting of flat broken pieces of hard sugar candy embedded with nuts such as pecans, almonds, or peanuts. It has many variations around the world, such as pasteli in Greece, croquant in France, gozinaki in Georgia, gachak in Punjab (Pakistan), chikki in India and kotkoti in Bangladesh.
In parts of the Middle East, brittle is made with pistachios, while many Asian countries use sesame seeds and peanuts. The term brittle first appears in print in 1892, though the candy itself has been around for much longer.
Traditionally, a mixture of sugar and water is heated to the hard crack stage corresponding to a temperature of approximately 300 °F (149 °C), although some recipes also call for ingredients such as corn syrup and salt in the first step.
Nuts are mixed with the caramelized sugar. At this point spices, leavening agents, and often peanut butter or butter are added. The hot candy is poured out onto a flat surface for cooling, traditionally a granite or marble slab. The hot candy may be troweled to uniform thickness. When the brittle cools, it is broken into pieces.
My recipe is based very closely on one from juliausher.com – my version is immodestly delicious, and my additions of cardamom, vanilla paste and garam masala really elevates the candy to a whole new level, in my humble opinion.
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
The Hirshon Pistachio Cranberry Cardamom Brittle
- Total Time: 0 hours
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla paste (preferred) or extract
- 1 1/2 tsp. Freshly-ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. Garam masala (optional)
- 1 pound shelled ARO brand or other top-quality pistachios
- 1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- Place a lined cookie sheet in a low (about 300˚F) oven before you start. It’s easier to spread the brittle if it lands on a hot cookie sheet. In lieu of greasing the cookie sheet, I line it with a silicone baking mat, which makes for easier cleanup. You can also use parchment paper, though it will slip around more in the spreading process.
- Make the sugar syrup. Combine the first three ingredients in a medium (3- to 4-quart) saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Continue to boil, stirring only occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture reaches 275˚F. (This may take several minutes, so be patient – use a candy thermometer rather than guessing. For the most accurate temperature measurements, be sure the tip of the thermometer is fully surrounded by liquid rather than leaning against the side or bottom of the pan.)
- At this point, the mixture will still be clear, and may be spinning sugar threads when you stir it. No worries, this is all completely normal.
- As the sugar syrup cooks, quickly heat the cardamom, vanilla and garam masala in a frying pan over medium heat. With the mixture still on the heat, stir in the nuts and cranberries, taking care to evenly coat the mix-ins. VERY carefully add the contents of the frying pan to the sugar syrup.
- Continue to cook and stir until the mixture turns a light brown or reaches 310˚F, whichever comes first. Don’t be alarmed if the mix-ins seem to bind up most of the sugar; once poured and spread, the mixture will appear to have more sugar to mix-ins than it does in the pan.
- Also, the mixture can quickly over-caramelize and burn, so watch it carefully and pull it off the heat as soon as it reaches the right point – which, again, is light brown.
- Finish the mixture and get it on the cookie sheet, fast! Add the butter and baking soda to the syrup, nuts and fruit. Stir until all of the butter is melted and the ingredients are evenly distributed; then quickly (and I mean, quickly) transfer the mixture to the heated, prepped cookie sheet.
- Spread the mixture as thinly as possible (which is about one nut deep) and allow it to cool completely. The sugar will harden as it cools. Break the brittle into bite-size pieces and serve, or package in air-tight containers for gift-giving.
- Prep Time: 0 hours
- Cook Time: 0 hours
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 1407.62 kcal
- Sugar: 192.43 g
- Sodium: 844.59 mg
- Fat: 57.84 g
- Saturated Fat: 9.98 g
- Trans Fat: 0.23 g
- Carbohydrates: 220.57 g
- Fiber: 13.51 g
- Protein: 23.15 g
- Cholesterol: 15.26 mg
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