Operation Hostess gift: Spiced Nut Brittles

It’s the most wanderingist around with random things in your hands time of year. I tend to make some foods and inflict them on people. Sometimes, I feel a little bad about it. It seems that people tend to eat the stuff I give them in one sitting after their guests leave.

I suppose that’s not really my fault, per se…

Anyway, so I’m now working on giving foods that have some nutritive value. I’m thinking if people are going to eat the food in one fell swoop, maybe their bodies should get a little something out of it too. My solution is brittles. Nuts are good for you, you know. (And since I add in baking soda with the the nuts, it explodes out into millions of tiny bubbles making the brittle light and crispy. Not even hard on your teeth!)

Now I can’t abide by making normal peanut brittle. I’d rather shake things up a bit. I use all different kinds of nuts with different kinds of spices. They all end up pretty good – besides, it’s fun playing with different flavor combos and seeing what comes out. It’s like finger-painting with candy. Here are 4 examples to get you started then let your inner (or outer) child rule!

Pistachio Cardamom Brittle
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1-2 c pistachios, roasted
2 t cardamom
1 t salt (if nuts are unsalted)
1/2 t baking soda

Cinnamon Pecan
1 – 2 c pecans, roasted & chopped
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda

Thai Curry Peanut Brittle
1 – 2 c peanuts, roasted
2 t thai curry powder
1 t ginger
1 t salt (if nuts are unsalted)
1/2 t baking soda

Hot & Sweet Cashew Brittle
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1 – 2 c cashews, roasted & chopped
2 t pepper
1 t cayanne pepper
1 t salt (if nuts are unsalted)
1/2 t baking soda

All brittles
1 c water
2 c sugar

Put nuts, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Set aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and coat a silicon scraper with cooking spray.

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Bring water and sugar to a boil over high heat in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Let water boil until the sugar is dissolved then reduce heat to medium-high and let simmer until mixture gets turns cinnamon colored. It will start to turn brown just over 250°f and it will be done between 275°f and 300°f. When it starts getting deeper brown swish the pan a bit to make sure you’re seeing what color it really is.

As soon as you decide that the sugar is done, remove from heat and throw in the cashew mixture. Mix quickly and pour onto prepared baking sheet. Spread as thinly as you can and set aside until it cools. Break apart and enjoy.

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4 thoughts on “Operation Hostess gift: Spiced Nut Brittles

  1. Wow, this is great. I love having many examples to work with. I’m a huge fan of cardamom, so I think the pistachio-cardamom brittle is a must-do for me. I love how nuts marry well with spicy and sweet, so much that they can hold the two at once.

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