Note: Use plain, untoasted nuts and seeds in this recipe since they will be warmed in the sugar mixture. Mix and match nuts, seeds and seasonings to create your own crunchy, spicy adventure.
*Gardner suggests almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, unsweetened coconut, walnuts, and sunflower, sesame or pumpkin seeds.
**Gardner suggests ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, ground nutmeg, curry powder, ground cloves and dried herbs such as thyme, basil, lavender, etc.
Reprinted with permission from Erin Bakes Cake (Rodale Books, 2017).
Yield: 2 cups finely chopped brittle
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cups nuts or seeds*
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon seasoning**
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Line a cookie sheet with greased parchment paper, foil or a silicone baking mat. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, 1/4 cup water, water, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture reaches hard ball consistency, or 265 degrees on a candy thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in nuts or seeds and cook until mixture reaches hard-crack consistency, 300 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes more.
Remove pan from heat and immediately stir in butter, vanilla extract and seasoning until combined. Add baking soda last (the mixture will bubble and foam when baking soda is added, but fall slightly as you stir). Pour onto prepared cookie sheet. Allow brittle to cool completely before breaking into chunks or chopping. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.
If using in a cake filling, finely chop brittle and sprinkle onto a cake layer that’s been topped with buttercream or another creamy filling. Top creamy, crunchy filling with another layer of cake. You can also use it to garnish a plated slice of cake.