Thursday, March 18, 2010

Autumn Brittle


Several weeks ago I tried a new snack from Costco called "Cashew Clusters" and became completely obsessed with it. It is amazingly and utterly delicious! They're these kind of granola chunks with cashews, pumpkin seeds and almonds in them. I decided to try to make a brittle using mostly the same ingredients, but added some dried cranberries as well to boost the healthiness of the candy. I had never made brittle before, so I was quite surprised at how long it took for the sugar mixture to reach the "hard crack" stage (almost an hour!). It turned out wonderfully and makes for a good candy that you don't have to feel guilty about eating, since it has a lot of vitamins aside from the sugar and honey. I decided to call it Autumn Brittle because the pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries seemed very fall-y to me, and autumn is my favorite season and I've been missing it as of late spending my time here in Los Angeles.



Ingredients:

1 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Cashews
3/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
2/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
2 and 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar 
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Cup Water
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Butter

Heat the sugar, honey, water and salt in a large pot over a low-medium flame. Use a pot that is larger than you would think necessary because when the mixture begins to boil it will foam up and increase in size. Stir every five minutes or so. Using a candy thermometer, continue to heat the mixture until it reaches a temperature of 310 degrees Fahrenheit. This is very important because this is the temperature at which sugar hardens into a rock-like state after it cools. It can take up to an hour for the mixture to reach that high of a temperature, so don't get too worried if 15 minutes go by and the thermometer is still at 175.


While the sugar mixture is boiling, place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a shallow pan, about 9 x 13 inches in width and length, and grease the parchment paper. Set aside. After the sugar mixture reaches 310 degrees turn off the heat and allow to cool to 302 degrees, then immediately stir in the butter, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries until they're coated in the mixture.


Immediately pour the mixture onto the parchment paper and spread it out into a large rectangle using a rubber spatula. Try to keep the surface relatively even and about 1 inch in height. Place the pan in the refrigerator and allow the brittle to cool for one hour. Once it has finished cooling, remove the sheet of brittle from the parchment paper and break the brittle into pieces using a meat tenderizer or clean hammer. Arrange the pieces on a serving platter and serve. Store excess brittle in a cool dry place.

125 comments:

  1. Eva,

    This looks so good. I have been thinking of making this...now you've pushed me to really do it! :)

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  2. Oh good! I hope you like it as much as me and my sweet tooth did :o)

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  3. This looks...unbelievable.

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  4. i tried it - and it tastes great :) thank u!

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  5. I discovered this post via Pinterest. My husband is addicted to the Costco stuff. Can't wait to try this - thanks!

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  6. Thanks you guys, I am so glad you liked it!

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  7. Definitely going to try this! Yummmm!!

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  8. Can anyone tell me where to find a candy thermometer and approx. cost? Can I use a regular meat thermometer?

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    1. you can get one at wal-mart for less than 10 bucks.

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    2. NO a meat thermometer will not work. It really does have to be a candy thermometer.
      abcsnana

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  9. @ Kelly: The average price for a candy thermometer on amazon.com tends to be around $11. I know target has them too, but for about $20-$25. You could probably use a meat thermometer, because although they usually only go up to 350 while candy thermometers go up to 400 degrees, this recipe only calls for it to go up to around 300. But candy thermometers can usually be clipped onto the side of the pot which is convenient, whereas with a meat thermometer you are going to have to keep poking it into the liquid and holding it there above the hot mixture, which might be painful for your hand after a while.

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  10. I love peanut and cashew brittle, but this looks a million times better. Can't wait to try it, will be a great fall snack.

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  11. looks wonderful ...and u were right on the button naming it Autumn Brittle- such lovely warm shades of Fall!! Will definitely give it a go... x

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  12. It looks gorgeous- I will be making some!

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  13. So pretty! I've got to try this!

    http://longenecker-storyshort.blogspot.com/

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  14. Found you from pinterest as well, and can't wait to try this recipe, thanks for sharing!!
    Love the name too, so clever!!

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  15. Can't wait to try this recipe! So glad it doesn't call for corn syrup!

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  16. We made it today. It has not hardened up like brittle, and is chewy like taffy. Any suggestions Eva? Thanks, JT!

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  17. It looks incredibly yummy... I'm looking for healthy snacks for my hubby but this looks like the sugar would cancel all the good stuff out! Popping by from pinterest too...

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  18. @Little Gumnut: Yeah, when you see a recipe for any kind of brittle it will always involve one of two things, sugar or cornsyrup. It definitely falls under the treat category, not the "eat one every day" category.

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  19. Is the tablespoon of butter used for greasing the pan? It is not used in the ingredients!

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  20. Now see it! Thanks! I am happy that I read those instructions first! Can't wait to make them.

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  21. I just made this, and it was in the fridge for 15 minutes before I had to sneak a bite. Yum!!!! I think the only thing that could make it better is maybe to stir in a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. As far as cooking time, it took about 30-40 minutes from start to finish. A little high maintenance, but well worth it!

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  22. That is a really good idea!! I will have to put that in the next time I make it, sounds wonderful!

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  23. Just wondering, trying to figure out the nutritional values here, how many servings to you figure it would be?

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  24. It depends on how big the pieces you crack apart are, I would say about 12 - 18 servings depending.

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  25. Hi - Beautiful photos. I can't wait to try this. One question though - did you use salted/unsalted nuts?

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  26. Just made this! Fantastic!!!!

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  27. I used unsalted nuts :) and thanks! So happy they turned out well for you!

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  28. This looks phanominal. You can make the candy part in the micro wave and it goes much faster. I've made regular brittle that way and it only takes about 5 minutes. Really. I'm definately going to make this one SOON.

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  29. I am in love with your picture of this Autumn Brittle and cannot WAIT to make it. What a beautiful addition to my fudge and Christmas cookies to send to family for Christmas! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

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  30. @Kathy: I will definitely try that the next time I make brittle, it would be great to cut down on the time it takes to make this stuff!

    @Mrs.Kingers: Why thank you! I hope you and your family enjoy it :D

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  31. You can use a meat thermometer and use a the black JUMBO clips from the office store on the side of the pan to hold it.

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  32. Can't wait to make this for my co-workers for christmas, it looks divine. I need to source a sugar thermometer though so will have to ask my Aussie friends where to get one. Can't wait to make it!

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  33. Hello there...LOVE your blog!!!! I just wanted to let you know that I wrote about your recipe and posted it on our blog for our family's health food store. I linked back to your site and credited your blog, thanks so much for this great recipe.

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  34. This sounds great! However, I don't like honey. I don't like the smell or taste of it. Would it be fine if I left it out, or is there something I could substitute for it?

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  35. @Alexandria: You could replace the honey with granulated sugar, so that would make for a total of 2 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar for the recipe :)

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  36. @Andy's Market: Thank you so much for the link love! I am so glad you like the recipe!

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  37. Another pinterest.com looker! :) making this today thank you for the pictures and receipe! They will make great Christmas gifts!

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  38. I'm so excited! I just got back from Costco having bought all the ingredients to make that Cashew Crunch. I didn't even start searching for a recipe, it was on my Pinterest page! Thanks!

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  39. Awww awesome!! Glad they turned out for you @starla and I'm happy you're making them @Simone :D

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  40. I made this for my dinner club girls and it was such a hit that I made it again for Christmas! Deeeeeelicious!

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  41. Great!!! Happy you all enjoyed them.

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  42. Is there a printable version of this recipe?

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    1. Just created one, thanks for the suggestion! https://sites.google.com/site/adventurescooking/home/autumn-brittle

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  43. I am allergic to honer (sad I know) what can I substitute? molasses? corn syrup?

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  44. You could probably substitute it with another 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons corn syrup.

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  45. making this right now (with my brand spankin' new candy thermometer) and can hardly wait to crunch into it. Glad I read the comments as well...almost missed the butter!

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  46. making this right now (with my brand spankin' new candy thermometer that the hubby ran out and got) and can hardly wait to crunch into it! Glad I read the comments...I almost missed the butter, too. Trying the recipe with agave sweetener, so it's practically a health food now, right?

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  47. smelling quite autumnal in my home right now....one hour to wait!

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  48. Could you sub the sugar for maple syrup or honey?

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  49. I just made this!! Sooo yummy! I did add 1tsp Apple Pie Spice..YUMMO!!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  50. The brittle can also be made in the microwave! amazingly easy.
    Cook on high for about 3 minutes, remove....stir, cook 3 minutes more.

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  51. any idea of the calorie count???

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  52. This sounds fantastic. Wondering about trying it with baking soda added as one does with peanut brittle for a finer texture of the candy..

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  53. Hi, I am trying to cut down on sugar in my home. Do you think this would turn our OK using Splenda for baking instead of granulated sugar?

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    1. I don't know if it would work because splenda has a different chemical structure than sugar and it would not harden up or have the same hardening temperature as sugar does. You could always try, or maybe just cut the sugar amount in half and add some splenda. Let me know how it works out if you give it a shot :)

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    2. I was wondering the same exact thing. Did you try it with splenda or stevia? I would love to make these but have to watch the sugar.

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    3. I highly recommend using honey, maple syrup, agave, or stevia (or a combination). Splenda and other artificial sweeteners have some serious side effects. I'm going to make this using a little honey, a little maple syrup and adding dried apples and hemp seeds.

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  54. Just joined Pinterest and found these autumn bars. I love those clusters you are talking about at Costco, but yours look even better. Can't wait to try this. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I joined pinterest just recently as well and found this gorgeous recipe. Haven't made it yet, but I can tell from the skilled writing and attention-to-detail instructions it's a winner! Not to mention the awesome photos.

      Eva, this is an exceptional blog. I'll be back often (also following you on pinterest).

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    2. Thank you Sherri! Your kind words warm my heart :)

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  55. It sound so healthy and nutty as i love nuts will try as soon as possible .thank you

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  56. These are out of this world - cheers!

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  57. I am obsessed with the Costco Cashew Clusters too! Yum! Can't wait to try your recipe.

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  58. Just made it, awesome, thanks

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  59. Wish there was a microwave version. Many brittle recipes can be made in microwave.

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  60. I too am so excited as I love the Costco stuff! I would be very interested in full microwave directions.

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    1. I will try making it again this autumn in the microwave and see what happens, if it works I will update the post to include the microwave instructions as well :)

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  61. My husband is alergic to honey, can i sub corn syrup?

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    1. Now that I think about it, it might work because it does have some sugar in it, but since it's not entirely sugar the whole of it might not get to the hard crack stage, which would result in a soft taffy-like candy rather than a hard brittle.

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    2. Corn syrup will work. I make hard candy every year for Christmas. I cant wait to tey this recipe. Looks delish.

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  62. instead of al that sugar and honey, you can use melted 70% dark chocolat to cover all those goodies. more healthy!!!!

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  63. So excited to make this! Found on Pinterest and with needing after school snack ideas, this is perfect! Especially for snacking before soccer practice/games! Thanks!!!

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  64. I am making this for a work potluck tonight. It looks delicious! I like the autumn theme - fall weather has been peeking its head out in Minnesota. Thanks for sharing your food experiments and recipes with us!

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  65. @ Heather...Being diabetic, I'm wondering if you made this using the Stevia (Truvia Brand is the one I find most often)?? Could you please give me a "rundown" or recipe on how you used it, with what other ingredients, amounts, the process etc? I'm not the greatest cook and know VERY little about chemical structure etc...any help/tips would be grately appreciated as I'd LOVE to have this around to snack on. Thank you very much! Gail~

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  66. Your blog is amazing :):) Thanks for sharing it with us . I'm making the brittle as soon as my husband return with a thermometer:):) can't wait to try more of your recipes

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  67. Your blog is amazing ! Thanks for sharing:):) I'm making this as soon as the husband returns with a thermometer !!

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  68. I'm thinking this is what hubby and I will take along for an upcoming 5 day bicycle ride! Cannot wait to make it and try it...thanks for posting!

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  69. I found this on Pinterest - this looks SO good! Thank you for the recipe!

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  70. Looks delicious, will have to give it a try! Loved your photos :)

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  71. Hey guys, would love to make these but can't have dairy (even lactose removed dairy). Any ideas for the butter substitute? Thanks! Jenn

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    1. You might try Coconut Shortning. I got mine from Trader Joe's but I think it is easier to find now because it is suppose to be a healthier product.

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    2. If it's allergies .... typically to the protein ... Ghee may be okay.

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  72. Do you think maple syrup could be substituted for the honey? I made these last week with a local honey and the taste of honey was just a little too much for some of the people who tried them. Thanks for sharing the recipe though - I love it!!!!

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    1. Glad you liked it! I think it would still work with maple syrup, since it is still sugar it should have the same chemical reaction when heated up to that temperature. Let me know how it goes for you, maple brittle does sound delicious, I'll have to try it for myself too!

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    2. Maple will definitely work in place of honey or sugar quantities ... it hardens the same way

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  73. I tried this - twice - and both times it came out like hard-tack candy, which I'm not sure is correct. It cracks apart with a solid blow from a hammer, but it's not pleasant to eat. It gets horribly stuck in your teeth. I'm used to making brittle with baking soda and it always has a much better texture. Am I doing something wrong, or are all translucent brittles so uncomfortable to eat?

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    1. It sounds like it didn't reach the hard crack stage yet. Did you use a candy thermometer?

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  74. This looks amazing! The colors are beautiful! Can't wait to try it. I've never made brittle before so I will have to get a candy thermometer. Thanks for sharing your recipe. ___tosh

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  75. Will be trying this-most brittles have corn syrup, which I am allergic to. I'll have to substitute some on the nuts with non-allergic ones, too, but that shouldn't be a problem.

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  76. I made 1 batch and it was chewy not hard and very sticky. I made another batch and it was very sticky and still not set really hard.. What can I do?

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    1. It sounds like it still didn't reach the hard crack stage. Did you use a candy thermometer?

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  77. In your first paragraph of directions it says to cook to 310 degrees, then in the second paragraph it says when it reaches 302 add nuts, butter..... Does the temp continue to go up after that, or do I continue to cook after adding the nuts, butter....Thanks for your help.

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    1. Hello! Sorry I should have been more clear, remove it from the heat after it reaches 310 and then wait for it to cool for a minute to 302 and stir in those ingredients. Will remedy the recipe!

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  78. Looks great. You stated to cook until 310, but then said remove from heat at 302. Do you cook until it reaches 310, remove it from heat and wait till it cools to 302 before stiring in rest of ing?

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    1. Yes, sorry I should have been more clear. Will remedy the recipe :)

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  79. Just made this and it turned out great! In one recipe the brown sugar is omitted. And in one place the final temperature is wrong. But most candy thermometers have a line marked for hardcrack.

    I added toasted sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. I think raisins would be good too. Spreading it thinner makes it easier to crack, more like peanut brittle.

    Thank for sharing this recipe. It's a keeper : )


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  80. I was wondering how it came out with Maple syrup? I was thinking of trying Agave and Raw Sugar.

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  81. I'm planning to make this for a bake sale but I have a few questions. I think I'd like to use the maple syrup instead of honey. Could someone tell me how that turned out? Secondly, how long does this stay fresh. The bake sale is in one week and I'd like to knock this out today, but not sure the brittle will stay fresh. Finally, I've read that some use baking soda in making brittle. How much and where would I add this? Thanks!!

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    1. This article helps answer why some people use baking soda in brittles, http://www.pastrysampler.com/Questions_and_Answers/brittle.htm , it says it "fluffs up" the brittle to make it a bit airier. If you wanted to try adding baking soda, all the other brittle recipes I read with it have it added at the end of cooking, so you should stir it in right before you stir in the nuts and dried fruits. You could do one or two teaspoons, depending on how airy you want your brittle to be.

      I have not tried making it with maple syrup myself, but in that same webpage that explains the use of baking soda in brittles, there is a recipe for brittle that calls for several cups of maple syrup and I have seen other brittle recipes that use maple syrup before, so it should work out fine.

      If you store the brittle in an air-tight container it should stay fresh for a month, and if you want to store it longer than that I would keep it in an air-tight container in the freezer and then let it thaw out for a day before you intend to serve it. Hope this helps!

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  82. How long does this stay fresh?
    How would I incorporate baking soda?
    How did it turn out with the maples syrup?

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  83. Everyone keeps talking about brown sugar, but the recipe above doesn't call for brown sugar? Is it missing? I want to make this today but want to get it right as the ingredients are a bit expensive.

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  84. Thanks for this tasty recipe! I made it this week, but substituted molasses for the honey. Delicious and beautiful.

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    1. I bet that gave it a nice and warm flavor, great idea!

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  85. Does this tend to be a real "stick to your teeth" brittle? I LOVE brittle but with fillings and crowns I'm always afraid of the real sticky stuff. For the past few years I've made a soft peanut brittle, but this looks so good I may give it a try or maybe just try incorporating all these nuts in my soft brittle recipe.

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    1. It's pretty hard, so you might want to incorporate the nuts and dried fruits into your soft brittle just to be safe! Don't want any brittle-induced dental incidents :)

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    2. Stir in a bit of baking soda right before adding the nuts, this will add bubbles and lighten the candy significantly.

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  86. Just made this tonight, it's delicious!

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  87. has anyone used coconut sugar, and something other than regular sugar husband is diabetic and trying to use low glycemic

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  88. I dont use brown sugar or regular sugar what can I use to make the candy coconut sugar honey would a little molasses work

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    1. I think coconut sugar should work since it appears to still be a sugar compound, so it should have the same chemical reaction when heated up to that point. If you do end up trying it with the coconut sugar let me know how it turns out, I am very curious!

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  89. I just made this. It came out horrible. I can't figure out what I did wrong, I followed everything as directed. My sugar was scorched. Any suggestions?

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    1. Hmmmm, what do you mean by scorched? Did it get hard and stuck to the pan? Did it start to smoke or change to a really dark color? What kind of pan did you use?

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  90. I doubled up the recipe and unfortunately it came out extremely sticky and did not harden.Does anyone have an idea on what I can do with it now? It has an awesome taste and we want to try and make something from it. We have tried sticking it in the oven and theat didnt do anything.Help! lol

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    1. Hrmmmmm, you could try putting the mixture in a big saucepan with some water and heat it on low, stirring once it softens a bit, to make it a bit softer and more spreadable. Then you could stir in a lot of oats and flax meal/seeds into it and make granola bars. Hope this helps!

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  91. I make peanut brittle in the microwave and it turns out just like store bought so I am wondering if this could be adjusted to cook the syrup in the microwave and then add the nuts and seeds?

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  92. I am sooo making this for Christmas to give as gifts and to snack on.

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  93. This is great! I have to try it, because I love this kind of snack! :)

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