Monday, December 03, 2007

It's all about the Brittle Baby!

Having taught my first cooking class of the young holiday season last week, I'm beginning to think about those seasonal sweets we all crave this time of year. Now as far as desserts go in December the cookies can be tasty, the croquembouche undeniably fancy and peppermint seasonal, but what I'm really talking about is brittle. I love brittle in all its forms: traditional salty peanut brittle, southern-style pecan toffee brittle, even nouveau cuisine "peanut butter & bacon" brittle. The simple act of applying heat to sugar can produce magical culinary results with a little patience, attention and of course..butter. I make my favorite brittle recipe with macadamia nuts because they provide a delicious creamy component to counter the caramelized sugar. Here's the recipe:

Macadamia Nut Brittle
Makes one 8X12" sheet pan of brittle

Baking Soda 1 ½ Teaspoons
Salt ¼ Teaspoon
Corn Syrup 1 Cup
Sugar 2 Cups
Macadamia Nuts, Chopped 2 Cups
Vanilla Extract 1 Teaspoon
Butter, Soft 4 oz.

Preparation Procedure-

Mix baking soda and salt, set aside. In a medium sauce pan bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. When candy thermometer reads 255˚ add nuts. Cook until thermometer reads 300˚ and add baking soda and salt mixture. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter. Spread thin on sheet pan and allow to cool to room temperature before cracking.