Simple Brittle Crunch
One of the perks of my job as a pastry chef is getting to make candies and confections..it’s literally in my job description! Candies and confections are typically made by carefully cooking a sugar mixture to a specific temperature, which requires an accurate thermometer, non-humid conditions and a watchful eye. A favorite quick treat I like to make is this brittle–its fast, easy and requires no thermometer like many of its confection counterparts. There are also a number of variations–from leaving plain to covering it with a thick layer of dark chocolate and flaky sea salt, and varying the nuts or seeds. Once you are set up, you can literally have a delicious brittle in 30 minutes!! And any small pieces and broken tidbits make a fabulous topping for ice cream!
Pumpkin Seed Brittle Crunch (with variations)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
5T butter, cut up
1t vanilla extract
1t baking soda (sift if it has lumps)
about 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (or toasted sunflower seeds, or toasted sesame seeds, or peanuts, toasted sliced almonds–you get the picture!!!)
tempered dark chocolate or chocolate chips & sea salt (optional, but recommended!!)
Have ready a sheet pan lined with a silpat, or parchment paper that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan and cook on medium high heat, swirling pan to be sure all ingredients are incorporated. Cook without stirring until the mixture is caramel in color–you want a nice caramel color but not smoking! If you mixture smokes, it will be too bitter and you should start again. Once your mixture has become a beautiful golden caramel, add the butter to stop the cooking and carefully stir (mixture will bubble up!). Add the vanilla and salt, then add the baking soda and mix quickly to disperse. The mixture will become foamy and opaque. Add the seeds or nuts if using and stir to just incorporate. Immediately and carefully pour mixture onto prepared sheet pan, pouring to fill the tray as much as possible (i personally like thinner brittle so I roll it between two silpats with a rolling pin). Sprinkle top with sea salt, or top with chocolate chips, spread thin and then top with sea salt. If you are using tempered chocolate, wait until the brittle has cooled and then spread with chocolate. Allow all to cool and chocolate to set. Break into pieces and try to resist eating it all!!!