Toasted Almond Brittle

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  32 servings
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  20 minutes

Toasted Almond Brittle

The sweet and savory qualities of almonds, amped up from a good toasting, really make this brittle something very special.

Ingredients

1¼ cups (255 grams) granulated sugar

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (165 grams) corn syrup

½ cup water

3 cups (288 grams) toasted slivered almonds, homemade or store bought

1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt

2 tablespoons tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, cultured preferred

1 teaspoon (8 grams) vanilla bean paste

1 teaspoon (5 grams) almond extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, roasted preferred

¾ (4 grams) teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  1. Line a 12- by 17-inch rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat and spray with nonstick vegetable oil spray. If you have a marble surface for baking, spray it, or oil it, and use that.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir to insure that the sugar is completely moistened. Insert a candy thermometer, positioning it so that does not touch the bottom (so you get the temperature of the candy, and not the bottom of the pan). Set over high heat and bring to a boil. (You can stop stirring when the mixture begins to boil.) Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the temperature reaches 264°F. As crystals form on the sides, brush down sides of pot with a wet pastry brush dipped in water.
  3. Add the toasted almonds and salt, and stir to coat well with a heat-resistant spoon or a metal spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 310°F and is a golden caramel brown. Timing will vary so watch the thermometer and color carefully.
  4. Immediately remove from the heat, and quickly add the butter, vanilla paste, almond extract, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir with a heat-resistant spoon until the butter melts and is fully incorporated. It will foam considerably.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a heat-resistant spatula. Let cool for at least 1 hour and then break it into pieces, as large or small as you like. You can just lift it up and slam it down to break it apart. Or you can place it on a work surface and rap it with a kitchen hammer or meat pounder. Rapping it lets you control the size of the pieces a little better (see Kitchen Tip).

Kitchen Tips

  1. If you are breaking the brittle to serve as candy or use as a cake decoration, use a meat pounder, which helps you make larger, more uniform pieces. If you are pulverizing a nut brittle to use as praline,  it doesn’t much matter how you break it up. Even a large metal spoon is usually sturdy enough to do the job.
  2. This recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart’s peanut brittle in the article “How to Make Sweets and Treats for Halloween” and the Culinary Institute of America textbook, Baking and Pastry.

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