This brittle has always been a Christmas staple in my household. I can remember my mom making this brittle as a very young child. It’s funny about old memories. My memory of my mom making brittle is as clear as it was when I was actually watching her. I can remember what the pan looked like that she used, I can remember the exact spoon and even what the candy thermometer looked like. I can also remember eating pounds of it, including it at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Over time, I have taken her recipe and made some modifications. The biggest one is that I replaced peanuts with whole cashews. The cashews give the brittle a little more crunch and a little bit more creaminess. I also try to eat only a few pieces now versus half the container like I used to do when I was a kid. One thing I haven’t changed from my mom’s recipe is that I try to stretch the brittle as thin as possible. It is a lot more delicious when your pieces are thin versus thick. Here’s how we made the cashew brittle this year:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 2 1/2 cups salted, roasted cashews
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
Butter a large baking pan; set aside. Combine cashews, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Insert a candy thermometer. Continue boiling, without stirring, until temperature registers 295 degrees, about 6 minutes. When sugar begins to brown, stir nuts gently to ensure even cooking. Remove saucepan from heat, and stir in the butter and baking soda; the mixture will begin to foam up, so mix quickly. Pour onto the prepared baking pan.
As soon as the brittle is cool enough to handle, use your fingers to stretch the brittle as thinly as possible over the baking pan.
Allow the brittle to cool completely, about 45 minutes, then break into bite-size pieces.
This cashew brittle is salty-sweet perfection. Be careful though, it can become addictive. You won’t be able to stop eating it once you start. I like this brittle as well for all the memories it has brought me through the years. It’s nice to include something in your Christmas cookie collection that reminds you of Christmas past. So there you have it. Our Christmas cookie and treat selection for 2011. I love how the flavors are all unique and stand up well on their own, but also how they complement each other when you make a tin up for a friend. Coconut pyramids that look like little modern pieces of art, the long biscotti with its red cranberries and green pistachios in the mix, the pretty cookie press cookies that are too cute to eat and the salty-sweet cashew brittle. The four of these really make a nice little treat for Santa, but better than that, for you and your family to enjoy over the Christmas holiday. Thanks for baking with us! Do you and your family eat all of your Christmas baked goods or do you share them with other family and friends too?