As the weather gets colder and the time of year turns to fall, people start searching for sweet treats to share with their family and friends. It’s the season of rich foods and over indulgence and there seems to always be potlucks, family dinners and social gatherings that require some form of food to be shared with the hope it will please the masses. But let’s be honest, sometimes you just want to make something delicious and painfully sweet for you to enjoy on a cold day in the privacy of your own home. Guilt free! Okay, maybe not entirely guilt free but at least the lesser of sugar-laden evils. Frosting is a girls best friend, we all know that, but sometime she want something not so fluffy, not so pedestrian, not so delicate.
If there is one thing that harvest brittle is not, it’s delicate. It is a beautiful blend of salty and sweet, hard and chewy and tastes like honey coated sunshine. No, I’m not even joking about that! If you are looking for something with a little bit more of an edge, this recipe is for you.
Most of us have had peanut brittle, at one time or another and we all know it screams of ‘guilty pleasure’. We all know its sinfully chewy, it’s going to stick in our teeth and we are going to have to pick it out in such ways that make brittle almost unfit for public consumption. Its buttery and salty and sweet and perfect in every way. This harvest brittle is similar to traditional brittle but feels a little more healthy, a little less like your misbehaving.
The saltiness that comes from the variety of nuts used and the sweetness and chewiness from the dry cranberries all encapsulated in this thing rich sugar honey lacquer is really almost too much to bear. Seriously! It’s really that good! So I began searching through recipe after recipe after idea after suggestion after comments to put together the most perfect harvest brittle. Fall is my most favorite time the year and that means that I fall under the spell of all four flavors, mostly especially pumpkin but I will give equal opportunity to all when it comes to satisfing my sweet tooth. This recipe needed to be rich, it needed to be full of flavor and texture and it needed to be beautiful and bring forth all the warmth and coziness that fall requires brings forth. But I also wanted this brittle to be somewhat healthy. Don’t laugh! Okay, I admit that this is not what would be considered health food. But the nuts are full of protein and good fats, the sugar mixture is melted with honey and that somehow makes this feel a little less candy like. Although this brittle it is much chewier and stickier than normal peanut brittle, I promise that it is just as delicious… in a very happy, fall type of way.
You will need:
1 cup cashews
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup of honey
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
Now, I was really surprised when I made this that it went as quick as it did and that it was as easy to make as it was. Prepare a 13×9 cookie pan by covering it in parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper heavily and set aside. Combining your sugar, salt, honey and water in a large pot.
Start melting the mixture together over a low to medium heat, and you attach your candy thermometer to the side of your pot to regulate the temperature. It is very important that you bring this mixture up to 310° as that is the temperature at that will cause this mixture to become brittle as it cools. This can take quite some time depending on the temperature of your stove so be patient, I promise that you will be rewarded. Once your mixture reaches 310° remove it from the heat and let it cool down to a temperature of 300°.
Stir in your butter and nuts and vanilla and cranberries and combine until all are fully incorporated and covered with the sugar mixture. Immediately transfer the batter to your 13 x 9 and spread out your mixture so that it is all even. Make room in your refrigerator and let your pan of brittle cool completely before moving onto the next step. Once cool and hard to the touch, peel off the parchment paper and with a clean knife (or pointy end of a meat thermometer like me.. haha) break your brittle into smaller pieces and be ready to share with anyone who knows that you’ve been making this because believe me, it is an amazing recipe and everybody will LOVE this!