My love for cashews goes way back to when I was a little girl and used to stop into my grandpa’s bar to load up on hot salted cashews for our “war provisions” as we played outside. So when I spotted this recipe in the latest issue in Bon Appetite magazine, I knew I had to attempt making it.
Truth be told, the original candy thermometer just wasn’t getting past 180 degrees when I needed it to get to 230 before I added the cashews. So I made Russ test it occasionally with his meat thermometer until it was the perfect temp. And I took the easy way out and just spread it onto the silicone mat once it hit 300 degrees. I wasn’t about to fuss with hot molten sugar after hours and days of making Christmas cookies. As a final touch, I added a light sprinkle of sea salt which is a perfect finish!
Once the brittle cooled down, Russ helped himself to a taste and claimed “we’re not giving this away to anybody!” So naturally I had to try some for myself, and was in whole-hearted agreement. I will however, go out and buy more ingredients to make another double-batch.
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 cup cashews
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- A candy thermometer; latex or other food-grade disposable gloves (although if you’re going to just spread it with a spatula like I did, no need for the gloves.)
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a silicone baking mat or parchment paper with nonstick spray. Toast cashews on an unlined rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until just beginning to brown, 5–8 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, bring sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan fitted with a thermometer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally (at this point, you do not want to stir; doing so could encourage the sugar to crystallize), until thermometer registers 230°.
Add salt, curry powder, and cashews and stir, making sure cashews are completely coated and spices are evenly combined. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thermometer registers 300° (caramel will be a deep golden brown and cashews will be completely toasted).
Remove from heat and carefully stir in butter and baking soda; caramel will bubble and foam.
Immediately pour mixture onto prepared baking mat and let cool slightly. Wearing gloves (maybe even two pairs—mixture will be extremely hot), lift up an edge of baking mat and use it to fold mixture onto itself as if you were going to knead it; continue working in this fashion 1 minute. This will distribute the heat and incorporate air, resulting in a thin, crackly consistency.
As soon as mixture begins to firm up, stretch out, making it thin in places, but keeping it in one piece. (If today is not your day to sculpt molten sugar, simply pour mixture onto prepared sheet and use a spatula to spread it as thin as you can.) Let cool, then break brittle into uneven pieces, whatever size you like.
Do Ahead: Brittle will keep airtight at room temperature up to 1 week.
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