Bob started his career in the pastry kitchen. There he learned the art of adding “crunch” to his desserts. Thus, nut brittle has become almost a staple on our dessert menus. This is made using the senses and no thermometer and yet it works each night in our show. The brittle itself doesn’t have much staying power–shelf life–as we do not add preservatives. It might get sticky when not consumed shortly after making. Never cool this brittle in the refrigerator and always plan to make just enough to provide the crunch. Nuts can be any you like–pinenut, hazelnut, walnut, pecan, macadamia, peanuts, pistachio, etc. all work!
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup raw nuts, broken if needed
Optional: 1/2 cup candied fruit, if desired (for example, candied ginger, orange peel, lemon peel, raisins, craisins, etc)
Combine sugar & water into a large heavy bottomed, light colored sauté pan; cook over high heat. Cover pan briefly to insure sugar crystals wash down sides of pan from the steam. Then uncover and cook till amber color starts to form. (this usually occurs on one side at about the “10:00 position”.
When you smell sugar browning, too, it is time to swirl pan to distribute color through out. Leave on heat until a deep copper penny color occurs. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts and, if using, the candied fruit or dried fruit, and immediately pour out onto Silpat or other silicon lined sheet pan.
Cool slowly at room temperature before breaking into pieces. Don’t cool in refrigerator because it will absorb moisture and become sticky when cooled.
If desired, after spreading onto Silpat, salt lightly using flavored salt (vanilla) or other designer salt.