Salted Maple Walnut Brittle! Makes a quick and easy last minute gift or just for a sweet treat to enjoy at home.
Our Christmas started this past weekend, as we travelled south to enjoy an early celebration with my husband’s family. It was a great, but all too short weekend. I came home with some lovely gifts and a bonus – a huge bag of walnuts in the shell. You see, my mother-in-law came upon a great sale for walnuts recently and bought a bunch. It was probably only when she got home that she realized that she had no idea what she would do with them all. I guess she figured I could find something to do with them ;)
After I convinced my husband to shell 2 cups worth of the walnuts for me last night, I cooked up this brittle so quickly this morning. It took all of 20 minutes, then just long enough for it to cool. Flavoured with maple syrup and filled with toasted walnuts, this brittle is seriously delicious and a delightfully different from the usual. Packed up in little cellophane bags with a pretty bow, this brittle would make a great gift!
Like all brittles, this one needs to be cooked to the “hard crack” stage, which is 300° F. on a candy thermometer. You’ll really want to have a thermometer for this one. There are methods for gauging this point by dropping a bit into cold water, but I think it’s still a bit of guessing game there. To my way of thinking, the investment of $5 in a candy thermometer is money well spent.
Salted Maple and Toasted Walnut Brittle
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 cup butter, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups walnut pieces, toasted
- Coarse salt such as Maldon or Fleur de sel (optional)
Toast the walnuts: Add walnuts to a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until walnuts are fragrant and beginning to brown. Immediately remove from the skillet to a plate to cool. Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
For the brittle: In heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stir together the maple syrup, white sugar, butter, and water until melted and creamy. Once mixture comes to a boil, do not stir any more (you can gently swirl the pan, if you feel it needs it). Attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan and continue to gently boil until candy thermometer reaches 300°F or "hard crack" stage. Immediately stir in walnuts until well coated.
(*Do be careful when working with this very hot sugar mixture. Even the smallest splash on your skin can blister it. Definitely not an activity for kids or even having them any where close by to the boiling mixture). Very carefully pour the hot brittle mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out to a thin layer with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle top with a bit of coarse salt, such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel, if desired.
Allow to cool completely. Break into large pieces and store in an airtight container.
Adapted from walnuts.org