Overloaded Cinnamon Spice Brittle
Candy making can be daunting and if you are new to it, a brittle is a great place to start. While author Sally McKenney does ask for the use of a candy thermometer here, don’t let that scare you away. After all, if you are using a tool whose very raison d’etre is to take the guesswork out of the recipe, then it is like having a finely calibrated helper in the kitchen! This is her take on the classic peanut brittle but here she combines almonds, pepitas and cashews with dried cranberries and cinnamon. The salty and sweet combination does indeed lead one down the path of incessant nibbling. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! This recipe, along with her bright red Candy Apples, is from her book Sally’s Candy Addiction.
Excerpted with permission. Sally’s Candy Addictionby Sally McKenney. Published by Quarto Publishing, 2015. © 2015 text and photos by Sally McKenney
I have to be honest with you . . . this brittle exceeded my expectations and then some! I wanted to create a fun twist on Peanut Brittle for this book, and a slew of nuts came to mind. To make it even jazzier, I threw in some dried cranberries and cinnamon. Each crunchy, buttery bite reminds me of cool fall days. I normally have a ton of self-control around desserts, but I could NOT stop grabbing piece after piece of this overloaded brittle. Just could NOT. All caps. I urge you to measure and set out the butter, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, nuts, cranberries, and seeds before you start making the recipe.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
- 12 x 17-in (30 x 43cm) jelly roll pan or a similar-sized rimmed baking sheet
- silicone baking mat (recommended
- 3-qt (2.8L) heavy-duty saucepan
- pastry brush
- candy thermometer
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup (240ml) light corn syrup
- ½ cup (120ml) water, room
- ¼ cup (½ stick; 57g) unsalted butter, slightly softened and quartered, plus more if using for greasing
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (143g) raw almonds
- 1 cup (130g) raw cashews
- ¾ cup (90g) dried cranberries
- ¾ cup (98g) raw pumpkin seeds (a.k.a. pepitas)
- Line a 12 x 17-in (30 x 43cm) jelly-roll pan with a silicone baking mat. Alternatively, lightly butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray. I do not suggest parchment paper or aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Combine the sugar, salt, corn syrup, and water in a 3-qt (2.8L) heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved, then brush down the sides of the pan with a water-moistened pastry brush to prevent the candy from burning there. (Alternatively, you can lightly butter the inside edges of the saucepan with butter before beginning this recipe.) Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure not to let it touch the bottom.
- Bring candy to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, stop stirring. As the sugar cooks, the candy will go from clear on top to frothy bubbles on top. To avoid scorching, begin lightly stirring the candy occasionally once it reaches 265°F (129°C; hard ball stage). Cook the candy until it reaches 300°F (149°C; hard crack stage).
- Working quickly and carefully (it’s hot!), remove candy from the heat and stir in the butter, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, nuts, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds until combined. The candy will immediately foam and bubble. Pour out onto prepared jelly roll pan and, using 2 forks, pull the candy into a large rectangle so the add-ins are in 1 even layer. Allow to cool completely at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Snap brittle into pieces.
- MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Store brittle in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Brittle freezes well. Break it up as directed, place into an airtight container, and freeze up to 3 months.
Sally Says: If using salted nuts, omit salt in recipe.