Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cinnamon cashew brittle

cinnamon cashew brittle and silpat

Buttery peanut brittle: delicious, but still only the opening act of the holiday season. As a child, peanut brittle always seemed like the herald of the holiday candy. It was the first treat to start appearing around people’s houses and represented a promise of greater things to come. When the headliners (cinnamon rolls, cookies, FUDGE!) would finally arrive, the brittle would retire to a quiet corner to sell posters, tee shirts and homemade CDs, sought out by only the most loyal of fans.

In order to bring a little spotlight to this somewhat unremarkable confection, I’ve replaced the peanuts with cashews and added cinnamon, positioning my brittle into rock star status. This brittle isn’t content to simply warm up the crowd for the real show; it will blow the amp, steal your girlfriend and trash the hotel room!

Cinnamon Cashew Brittle is a great sweet to have around the house or to bring to parties and it’s the perfect recipe for the first time candy maker.

1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter – cut into ¼ inch pieces
2 cups roasted salted cashews
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine the water, sugar, cream of tarter, and corn syrup into a large saucepot and attach a candy thermometer. Place the burner to medium-high and heat the contents until they reach a boil, stirring occasionally.

In another container, combine the cinnamon, butter, cashews, and baking soda.
cinnamon and butter

Now you just have to wait until the candy achieves a nice golden brown color at around 339 degrees F. This part takes a little patience; you don’t have to stir the pot; you only need to monitor it. Be wary, though. Although it takes a good 25-30 minutes to achieve the proper temperature, once it hits 300 degrees, it will start to rise rapidly. Don’t do something silly like go and watch Project Runway, even if it’s just for a minute, or you might end up with something like this:
ruined candy
Oh yeah, that's good and ruined.

In any case, if you keep an eye on the candy, you shouldn’t have any problems. While it is heating, you can prepare a cookie sheet either by greasing it or by lining it with a silpat.

When the candy achieves the appropriate color/temperature, remove it from the heat, mix in the cinnamon, cashews, butter, and baking soda and stir rapidly to combine. Then, poor the contents onto the cookie sheet and allow it to cool. When it is ready, you can break it into pieces and enjoy!

You know, In many ways, with its dichotomies of sweet/salty taste and smooth/crunchy texture, cinnamon brittle embodies the many flavors of the holiday spirit…or something. Its jagged edges will certainly cutchoo like a mall Santa if you disrespect it though!
cinnamon cashew brittle