This buttery garam masala brittle is unlike any I’ve ever experienced. It’s great on its own but also as a garnish for any creamy dessert, such as a mousse, panna cotta, ice cream, pudding, crème caramel, or pot de crème.
I didn’t get that cool Electra Townie bike I promised myself, and thus I didn’t ride it once.
I walked a fair amount, but not 5 miles a day, 5 days a week, every week of the entire year.
I didn’t give up my 2 cups of morning coffee. In fact, I often drink 3 cups. I mean, seriously, why did I put THAT on the list?
I didn’t get back into a weight training routine or go to the gym regularly to work out on the machines. Bor–ing!
But as I perused further, I saw one resolution that I could easily accomplish TODAY. It said: “Make peanut brittle. No peanuts. Must be exceptional.” Aha! (Did I mention that I have never made peanut brittle or any kind of brittle before?)
So I began researching all of my dessert cookbooks this morning. Then I hit the web and looked around there. That took hours and more than 2 cups of coffee. Everyone makes it slightly differently and naming conventions are all over the place.
Some cooks make toffee and call it brittle. Some cooks make hard caramel (which I call praline) and call it brittle. One noted cook calls melted white chocolate painted thinly and embellished with raspberry puree, chocolate brittle. EEYIYI!
Brittle: A Working Definition
- Brittle is a hard, crunchy, caramelized sugar candy consisting primarily of sugar, water, syrup (usually corn syrup but sometimes with a little molasses), and butter boiled to the hard crack stage (300° or slightly higher) and then structurally lightened by the addition of baking soda.
- Brittle is usually mixed with nuts (such as peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts) or other crunchy embellishments (such as coconut, cocoa nibs, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pine nuts, or even popcorn).
- Brittle is seldom flavored with anything other than vanilla or salt.
- The texture of the final brittle can be controlled to some degree by increasing the amount of baking soda and/or the amount of butter, and also by spreading or pulling the hot mixture as thinly as possible. The brittle must reach the hard crack stage, however, so adjusting the texture by decreasing the final temperature is not an option, as it is with chewy caramels.
- The best brittle is crunchy, open textured, and chewable. It should shatter when you bite into it. It should be loaded with nuts or other goodies, which further enhance chewability. It should not be soft, sticky, or chewy.
NOTE The photos show cocoa nibs in the brittle and a mixture of finely chopped bittersweet and white chocolate on top of the finished brittle. Both turned out to be extraneous and actually get in the way of the other flavors. Thus, I’m not including either in the final recipe.
- A Passion for Desserts by Emily Luchetti
- Bittersweet by Alice Medrich
- Demolition Desserts by Elizabeth Faulker
- Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard
- Dolce Italiano by Gina De Palma
- Indulge by Claire Clark
- Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich
- Rustic Fall Desserts by Julie Richardson & Cory Schreiber
- Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt
- The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman