Sweet and salty with a satisfying snap and crunch, this brittle is also just a little bit fancier than your average brittle recipe with the addition of pistachios and lime zest infused salt on top.
So, this recipe almost never happened, and that would have been a shame, because this might be one of my top three things I’ve made this year. Brittle isn’t one of those things that I normally think about. I bake and cook like my life depends on it, but candy making has always been a little out of my grasp. Honestly, I’m afraid of hot sugar. It goes back I think to reading The Crucible in 7th grade, and the description of the kid getting burned by hot metal - in my head, I picture that happening to me, but with molten sugar.
My brother-in-law and I have an annual tradition of getting together during the holidays to make different candy for the family. We’ve made caramels, potato candy, fudge, and a host of other candies. The one thing that always gets made is peppermint bark for my sister-in-law, but other than that, we try to switch it up every year. A few months ago he and I were talking about what to make this year, and he said something about making peanut brittle. I just sort of said “or pistachio brittle” in the moment, and I haven’t been able to get that idea out of my head since. Unfortunately, due to Covid, our family has been trying to be smart about quarantining, and we weren’t able to get together this year for candy making, so I made this one on my own. This recipe is based on Bon Appetit’s Salted Pistachio Brittle, with a few changes to suit what I had in my pantry at the time I made it. I really do hope you’ll give this a try - the hot sugar is still scary to me, but I will totally work on my fear, because this was just that good. I made my husband take the leftovers to work with him because I didn’t trust myself around it.
A few notes on this recipe – you want to have a thermometer. I recommend Thermopop. You can try to time candy making by color and smell, but unless you’re a true pro, it’s so much easier to just use a thermometer, which will tell you exactly when you’re ready to move on to the next stage.
A sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet will definitely work, but I’d recommend a silpat. It stays in place better on the baking sheet, which is crucial when you’re trying to work quickly to spread out the brittle.
Lime Pistachio Brittle
- 1 tablespoon Maldon Sea Salt
- zest of 1 lime
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup of salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat liner or a sheet of parchment paper sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place the Maldon salt in a small bowl, and then zest in the lime zest using a microplane grater. Massage the lime zest and salt together with your fingers, and set aside until the end.
- In a medium saucepan whisk together the sugar, corny syrup, and 3 tablespoons of water. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Fit the pan with a candy thermometerand bring to a boil. Cook until the thermometer registers 290 degrees - about 3-4 minutes. Sugar mixture will start to darken at this point.
- Once the sugar hits 290, stir in the pistachios, butter and salt and continue to cook. The mixture will harden a bit when you first add the nuts, but will soften again as it heats up. Bring the mixture up to 300 degrees - should be another 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the baking soda over the sugar mixture and then stir quickly to blend (it will bubble up).
- Immediately pour the sugar mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out as thinly as possible. Sprinkle your lime salt mixture over the top of the caramel, and then let it harden and cool completely. Break the brittle into pieces. This is the fun part - I like to lift the tray up about 6-8 inches and then drop it back down on to the counter. It’s the little things, you know?
This can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Spread parchment between layers in storage container to prevent sticking.