I have finally settled back into my kitchen after being away from it for over two months. Since I’ve landed back onto Canadian soil, I have made the following: marble cake, key lime pie, lemon cheesecake tart, mini pecan pie, mini carrot cakes, hazelnut shortbread, buttercrunch toffee brittle and coconut bars. Sadly, I wasn’t able to take photos of any of these delightful goodies until I made the buttercrunch toffee because the charger of my beloved SLR is currently on its way in a FedEx package from Vietnam. Yes, the idiot that I am, I forgot the chargers for both my SLR and my point&shoot in Vietnam – although it is because of very mean and bitter and unfair customs officials in Vietnam who were very very very corrupt. But that’s a story for another day.
Let me now introduce you to this super easy yet oh-so-delicious, you-can’t-eat-just-one-or-four-or-five buttercrunch toffee brittle. I found this recipe on Joy of Baking while I was supposed to be “interning” and being a good reporter, so shhhh, don’t tell anyone, okay? I found hazelnuts on sale the day after Thanksgiving, so I decided to slightly change the recipe by substituting the almonds with the hazelnuts. The layer of toasted hazelnuts at the bottom, followed by the buttercrunch toffee, and the chocolate and hazelnut sprinkles on top…it tastes fantastic! Also, I think this makes a really good gift idea – especially since Christmas is slowly creeping up on us now. Brittle is sold in stores in very pretty cellophane and fancy ribbons for a ridiculous price, and you can make your own (many!!!!) variations at the fraction of the price. Plus, you can then awe your friends with how amazing and talented you are at making these very pretty and yummy goodies.
The brittle is pretty sinful on its own with a nice cold cup of milk, or a hot cup of coffee, but if you’re feeling like living life on the edge, eat the brittle with a homemade sundae or just a couple of scoops of your favourite ice cream. I’ve been eating ice cream like crazy as of late – mostly due to the fact of finding the CUTEST ice cream scoop on the face of the world. So really, the cow tells me to eat ice cream – and I’m not crazy, I promise! Anyhow, enough of my ramblings. Here is what you’re really waiting =)
Tips (from Joy of Baking):
- do not make the brittle on a humid day
- use a wooden spoon to stir, since it is easier to clean than a metal spoon
- have all your ingredients ready to go, especially the baking soda and vanilla
- the vanilla adds flavour, while the baking soda aids in browning and allows for a lighter texture
- store in an airtight container to prevent the brittle from softening
- this recipe makes one pound of brittle (which is barely enough for you to enjoy AND to share with others =P)
- 2 cups slivered almonds or chopped hazelnuts (or both!)
- 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 6 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place almonds/hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Once the nuts are cooled, you should now chop them. The recipe calls for a food processor, but I found that it pulverized them too fine. I found it was easier and tastier when you just gave them a rough chop with a knife.
- Sprinkle half of the nuts into a 8×10 inch buttered baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and water
- Have the baking soda and vanilla ready to go at this point.
- Bring the sugar mixture to a boil, avoiding over-stirring, until the mixture reaches 285F on a candy thermometer (soft-crack stage).
- Immediately remove the pan from heat, and add the baking soda and vanilla all at once.
- Immediately pour the mixture evenly onto your baking sheet over the almonds/hazelnuts.
- Sprinkle the chocolate over top. The hot caramel mixture will soften and melt the chocolate. Using an off-set spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the caramel mixture.
- Sprinkle with the remaining nuts and refrigerate until completely cooled.
- Once cooled, you can break or cut the brittle into your desired sizes and shapes.