RECIPE

Chile-Cinnamon Brittle with Mixed Nuts

This is a savory, barely sweet recipe, my take on a basic peanut brittle. I was given this candy as a gift by a friend who had made it from a Jacques Torres recipe. I adapted it to include mixed nuts, chile, cinnamon, and a bit less corn syrup. I also roast the nuts to develop their flavor before using them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blanched hazelnuts
  • 1 cup unsalted raw peanuts
  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup good-quality honey
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, cut up
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 or 2 pinches of ground cinnamon

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Spread all the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Tear off another length of parchment the same size and set aside.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, honey, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Split the vanilla beans and scrape the seeds into the pan, then drop in the pods. Boil over high heat, stirring until medium amber in color (about the color of caramel candies), about 10 minutes. Fish out the vanilla pods with a fork, then stir in the nuts, chile powder, and cinnamon. Quickly pour the hot brittle mixture onto the parchment paper–lined baking sheet (taking care not to touch it as hot caramel can burn you badly), top with the second piece of parchment and top with another baking sheet to press it into an even layer about 1/2 inch thick, or flatten with a rolling pin. Let cool. Break into irregular pieces. Store airtight at room temperature.

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