Treat of the Week: Spicy Cashew Brittle

It is widely believed that brittle might have been the first candy ever made.  It first became popular in America with the introduction of the peanut.  In many other countries you will find it made with a variety of other nut products such as hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and pecans.  Today we make ours with roasted cashews.

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We have turned up the heat a bit with the addition of peppers.  By cooking them in the syrup mixture for the first stages of the cooking process we were able to infuse some of the flavor and heat without making it too intense.  The flavor profile is fun and makes for a delicious snack.

savour… sweet and spicy

Get the rest after the jump…

Spicy Cashew Brittle

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Before you start:

I say this with every candy post, but be clear… hot sugar can be dangerous.Move methodically and cautiously.

It is critical that you have all of the ingredients ready before you begin.

If you are going to take on candy I highly recommend getting a good thermometer.There are methods for testing the sugar, but once you are actively stirring there is really little time for it.It is science and a thermometer takes all the guess work out.

Adjust the peppers to your taste.In our case, three gave it a little heat without it being too spicy.

Adding fresh baking soda at the right time is important to the texture of the finished product.  Baking soda makes the brittle a bit lighter and porous and gives is a better snap.  It must, however, be added when the mixture comes off of the heat and mixed in thoroughly.

The ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter  at room temperature
  • 3 cups cashews (halves and  pieces will do)
  • 3 medium jalapeno peppers
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

The method:

    1. Butter a large baking sheet.
    2. Assemble all ingredients.
    3. Cut peppers in half lengthwise  and remove pith and seeds.
    4. Place sugar, corn syrup,  water, and pepper halves in a large pot over medium heat.
    5. Attach the thermometer to the  side.
    6. When mixture comes to a boil  (about 5 minutes), add in butter.Stir occasionally.
    7. When mixture reaches 230 (about  15 minutes) degrees remove peppers and begin stirring frequently.
    8. Turn heat down slightly to  medium low.
    9. When mixture reaches 275  degrees (about 20 minutes) add cashews and stir constantly.
    10. Turn heat back up to medium.
    11. When mixture reaches 300  degrees (about 10 minutes) remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
    12. Pour onto baking sheet and  spread out with two forks while candy is still hot.
    13. Place sheet on wire cooling  rack and do not touch until it is cool.
    14. Invert baking sheet and snap brittle  into pieces.
    15. Store in an airtight  container. 
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