Monday, December 7, 2015

Chocolate Nut Brittle

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This brittle is neither easy nor inexpensive to make, but I promise it is worth the time and money it takes to put together. The recipe for the brittle was the creation of Suvir Saran, a chef who is highly regarded by his colleagues. His brittle is different from most others because of the spices that are used to give it its unique flavor. This is a great recipe and fortunately the brittle freezes well, so it can be made weeks before things get crazy in the kitchen. Unless you have nerves of steel, this is not a recipe you want to make at the last minute. I don't make a lot of candy for the holidays, but I'll be sure to include this with the other confections that I am planning to prepare. This is good - really good - stuff. Here is how the brittle is made.

Chocolate Nut Brittle...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Masala Farm by Suvir Saran

11 ounces chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Scant 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Scant 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 pounds salted butter, cut into chunks, plus 1 additional tablespoon of butter at room temperature (Kerry Gold is recommended)
4-1/2 cups chopped and toasted nuts
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1) For the chocolate: Place chocolate and its associated spices in a medium bowl. Bring a small amount of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan and reduce the heat. Place bowl over the barely simmering water and melt, stirring frequently, making sure that no steam enters the chocolate. Turn off heat and move to a back burner.
2) To make brittle: First, prepare an (11 x 17-inch) pan by taking that additional tablespoon of butter. Grease the pan and lay an oversized sheet of parchment paper over the pan, pressing it down to coat it with the butter. Then turn it over so the buttered side is up. Set aside.
   Place 3 cups of the toasted/chopped nuts in a bowl and mix with the spices. Chop the other 1-1/2 cups a little finer as they will be used for topping.
   Melt the 2 pounds salted butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar, water, corn syrup and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sugar is entirely melted. Once the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring and start waiting. Using a pastry brush, dab the sides of the pot with water if you see sugar crystallizing. Stir or swirl the pan from time to time ensure even cooking and to disable burning. Continue to cook the caramel until it is a very deep brown, 25 to 30 minutes. If the caramel rises up to the top of the pan, reduce the heat. When it reaches 300 degrees F, it's ready. Remove from heat and stirring constantly, to stop cooking, add the spiced nuts. Immediately pour pour this mixture into the prepare sheet pan.
    Now wait for about 5 minutes. If the chocolate mixture isn't as liquid as before, briefly re-heat it over the hot water. Now pour the chocolate over the brittle and using an offset spatula, spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining nuts over the chocolate.
   Let set overnight or cover with plastic wrap, for at least three hours in the fridge. Break brittle in irregular pieces and serve on a platter or in a candy dish. Store in airtight container.

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