Now it’s time to talk about one of my all-time favorite snacks. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s got a lot of crunch and packs a punch. It’s almond brittle, and I’m going to show you how to make it.
Maybe your granny used to make it, or maybe your neighbors had some at their holiday party one year and you’ve been thinking about it ever since. Either way, brittle is a perfect candy to make at home. Not only is the recipe simple and easy, but it also stores well, allowing you to snack on it for as long as your heart desires.
Most of the brittle recipes you see feature peanuts, but I made these with almonds and they are IRRESISTIBLE. Making brittle doesn’t require a lot of fancy ingredients. You probably have most of this stuff sitting around the pantry somewhere. I use Alaga brand cane syrup when I make mine. Alaga is one of my sponsors, and I just love using their products. Their corn syrup has a great consistency, and I love the effect it has on the taste of the final product. They’re also based near where I live in Montgomery, AL, and you know I love using local products!
History of Brittle
No one REALLY knows where brittle came from, but there’s a version of the brittle creation myth that’s a personal favorite of mine. As the story goes, a Southern lady, in an attempt to make some taffy, mistakenly added baking soda to her recipe instead of cream of tartar. Apparently she didn’t want to waste precious ingredients, so she served her crunchy “taffy” and it ended up being a hit. As a “Southern lady” myself I gotta say, if I ended up making something delicious every time I screwed up a recipe, I’d be the most legendary chef in the world!
Interesting Brittle Facts
While it’s possible that brittle originated in the Southern region of the US, it’s now an international delicacy. Many cultures around the world have adopted the recipe and put their own spin on it. In the Middle East, brittle is made using pistachios instead of peanuts (or almonds in my case). In Asia, popular brittle recipes also use peanuts, but with the addition of sesame seeds, giving it a taste and feel more unique to that region.
There’s even a holiday for brittle! Yes, January 26th is National Peanut Brittle Day. Mark it on your calendar folks. Next time January 26th rolls around and you’re craving something salty, sweet, with a little bit of crunch, you’ll know exactly what to make.
Okay, let’s get to making some almond brittle. But first, I have a few tips for getting this recipe just right. We don’t want you failing now, do we? Like the Southern lady mentioned above, you might end up making taffy instead of brittle!
9 Tips for No Fail Almond Brittle
1. Be prepared. Everything brittle is fast! Measure ingredients, have your tools right at hand, and the sheet pan ready to pour onto.
2. Once you’ve stirred together the sugar, syrup, and water, let it come to a boil without stirring.
3. Brittle has to reach the hard crack stage, which means that strands of sugar break easily and feel dry. This happens at 310 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, once you see color form around the edge of mixture, turn down the heat to medium and gently swirl the pan to incorporate the caramelized sugar, then continue to cook until the mixture is dark amber.
4. If you live in a humid environment, you may have trouble making brittle – and meringues, for that matter. Make sure you allow the temperature of the candy to reach 310 degrees. You can test this by putting a drop of the candy into a glass of water. Upon hitting the water, it will completely harden.
5. Don’t forget the baking soda. That is what makes the candy porous, so that it breaks easily.
6. For thin brittle, stretch the brittle after it has cooled a few minutes, wearing rubber gloves.
7. Store in airtight containers or zip-top bags.
8. Don’t store in the refrigerator.
9. If your brittle fails, you can reheat it by breaking it up into pieces that will fit into the pan, stirring constantly over medium heat, then turning the heat up to high until it reaches 310 degrees. Thus the name “no-fail brittle”. There really is no way to mess this up if you do it right!
No-Fail Almond Brittle
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup Alaga Cane Syrup
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups almonds crushed and toasted
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- crushed sea salt
- In a medium-sized saucepan, combine sugar, coffee granules, syrup, water, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and allow the temperature to reach 300 degrees without stirring, or until a drop of syrup turns brittle when dropped into cold water.
- Remove from heat, add the baking soda, and stir like you mean it until the mixture blends and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Keep your head away from the pan in that mixture will steam and bubble.
- Stir in the crushed almonds until thoroughly blended, then quickly pour mixture in a thin layer onto a large rimmed non-stick baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, and allow brittle to cool completely. Knock the brittle out of the pan and crush into small chunks with a rolling pin, or break into large shards.