If you’ve never attempted to make candy before, I think I’ve got the perfect recipe to get you started. I know, I know—you don’t have a candy thermometer, you’re afraid of burning things (including yourself), and why would anyone make candy when you can just buy candy? I get it, really I do. But I still think you should make this.
Why? Because where else are you going to find a crisp nut brittle infused with Indian spices? A nut brittle made with pure clover honey instead of corn syrup? Or a super customized candy that contains only the nuts you want, being as though, if you’re not a cashew or pistachio fan, you can use peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pepitas, or whatever you feel like? Right here is where you’ll find it. And, as an added bonus, you don’t even need a candy thermometer to make this delicious treat happen. If you have one, by all means, bust it out. If you don’t, however, you still have no excuse to not make this candy.
Crisp, wonderfully spiced, and absolutely jam packed with nuts, this is homemade candy at its finest. Because I like a high ratio of nuts to sweet stuff, I made this recipe specifically with that preference in mind. The sweetness of the brittle serves mainly as a lacy structure to hold the nuts together, making every bite a perfect balance of nutty and sweet. Because a lot about the recipe is customizable, you can, as mentioned previously, swap out the nuts you see here for any other nut you like. You can also swap the ginger extract for vanilla extract, the cardamom for cinnamon (or a smaller amount of cayenne pepper or chipotle powder, if you’re looking to make a sweet and spicy candy). It’s great for wrapping up and gifting to friends and family, and, if packed in an airtight container and padded against shattering, it can be shipped across the country and arrive perfectly fresh and tasty as the day it was made. Seriously, just give it a try. You don’t have to make it with gifting in mind, if that takes off any added pressure. You can make it and eat it all yourself, and if you do, I promise I won’t tell a soul.
Last Year: Peppermint Mocha Crinkle Cookies
Indian Cashew and Pistachio Nut Brittle Recipe
As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can still make this candy. Though gauging a candy’s doneness can be accomplished by temperature, it can also be accomplished by keeping a close eye on your candy’s color and scent. I’ve added instructions below that address both temperature as well as color and scent.
Heaping ¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw pistachios
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ginger extract (if you can’t locate ginger extract in your local market, it can be ordered from a baking or spice shop, such as this one)
½ teaspoon baking soda
Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper, then set aside.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over low heat, combine sugar, water, honey, and sea salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and, without stirring, allow the mixture to come to a boil. Boil the mixture for 5 to 8 minutes, without stirring, until the mixture reaches around 260 degrees on a candy thermometer, or, if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the mixture turns a deep amber color. When the desired temperature or color are reached, immediately stir in the nuts and stir the mixture constantly until it reaches a temperature of 310 degrees or, if you don’t have a candy thermometer, when the mixture turns a deep golden shade of reddish brown and you can smell the nuts toasting and the sugar becoming deeply caramelized.
Immediately remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the butter, cardamom, and ginger extract until evenly incorporated. Add the baking soda (the mixture will bubble and foam for a bit, then reside) and stir until combined. Quickly pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, pouring it around as evenly as possible. Do not bother trying to scrap the last bits of the hot, sugary mixture from the sides of the pan. Gently push the mass of nuts around so it covers as much of the surface of the candy as possible.
Allow the candy to cool completely before breaking into bits and eating or packaging. If you want to speed up the cooling process, you an place the sheet of cooling candy in the freezer and cut your cooling time in half.