This is one of the easiest recipes I make. It is also one of the most rewarding. Brittle stands alone as a great, simple, crunchy end to a meal. In the restaurant I prepare various nut brittles and use them in endless ways: as a crunchy topping for ice cream, as a cookie, as a garnish for caramel mousse. In a dessert, texture is as important as flavor. Nothing can replace the satisfaction one feels from a blend of crispy and creamy on the tongue. This recipe calls for peanuts, but you can easily substitute almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup finely ground peanuts
- ¼ teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 17 × 11-inch baking pan
- Food processor or coffee grinder
- Nonstick reusable silicone baking pad (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 17 × 11-inch baking pan with parchment, aluminum foil, or a nonstick baking pad.
Cook the caramel (see the Note on cooking caramel successfully):
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the sugar, 1/3 cup water, and the cream of tartar. Cover and cook over high heat until the syrup comes to a very rapid boil. Remove the cover and continue to cook on medium-high heat until the sugar has turned a golden brown caramel color. Pour the caramel onto the prepared baking pan and let cool.
Grind the caramel:
When the caramel is cool, break it into 1-inch pieces. Place the pieces in a food processor or coffee grinder and grind to the consistency of granular sugar. Stir in the ground nuts.
Bake and shape the brittle:
Reline your baking sheet with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a nonstick baking pad.
Spread the caramel and nut mixture onto the baking sheet in an even layer, approximately 1/8 inch thick. Bake until the caramel melts and begins to bubble, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the salt evenly over the melted caramel. When the brittle is cool, break it up into small pieces and serve.