Pine Nut Brittle with Rosemary

By • October 27, 2011 • 142 Comments



Author Notes: Pine nuts and rosemary are two flavors that scream "holidays" to me. It's probably the closest you can get to eating the Christmas tree without getting tinsel in your teeth. So I decided to combine them here with another Christmas classic that dentists love to hate: brittle. Enjoy!Ms. T

Food52 Review: We love pine nuts and rosemary together (could anything be more evocative of rolling Tuscan hills?), but the idea of combining them in brittle form struck us as groundbreaking. Ms. T has you cloak the pine nuts in a buttery caramel, and while it’s still hot you stir in plenty of chopped rosemary, which then infuses the brittle with its perfume. A shower of crunchy sea salt is the finishing touch. A word of caution: be careful, or you may find yourself demolishing half the batch in one sitting, like we did! – A&MA&M

Makes enough for one big tin or about 6 little bags of treats

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups pine nuts
  • 8 tablespoons (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground sea salt (I used grey sea salt)
  1. Place the sugar in a large, heavy saucepan over high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until sugar begins to melt. Lower the heat to medium-high and keep stirring just until the sugar is melted. Stop stirring and watch for it to turn a medium caramel color. About 10 minutes total.
  2. Stir in pine nuts, and then butter. Allow pine nuts to cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in half of the rosemary and half of the sea salt.
  3. Turn the mixture out onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and spread it evenly to the desired thickness with a wooden spoon or stiff rubber spatula. Sprinkle remaining rosemary and salt on top, while brittle is still warm.
  4. Allow to cool completely--at least one hour--then break the brittle into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature. If your brittle isn't brittle enough to break into pieces, pop it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, until it hardens enough to snap easily.
Jump to Comments (142)

Comments (142) Questions (6)

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6 months ago insecureepicure

I teach cooking and I used this recipe in one of my classes. I try to teach fast desserts that are little bits of sweet and low carb. This brittle is delicious.

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7 months ago The Principal Cook

Wow! We made this last night for giving to friends and quickly discovered how addictive it is! Following LeeLeeBee's suggestion, we added 2 teaspoons of baking soda after we took it off the heat, and it came out beautifully. A brilliant recipe!

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7 months ago roughcut

Can I use Earth Balance to make this vegan?

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8 months ago Melissa Slattery

I had clumping from too much stuirring but medium heat and patience smoothed things out. Once the butter was in it took a while for it to completely incorporate. Once it did everything was fine. My first try ever at butter brickle, it really is fabulous I'm having trouble not eating it all right now.

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8 months ago ElisaVR

Hi, I'm new to making brittle, so maybe that is my problem...but when I just made this, it didn't turn out at all. When I added the pinenuts they suck together with the sugar right away, clumping up, and it was very hard to stir. It seemed like there was not enough of the sugar (although I did follow the proportions). Then when I added the butter, it got all grainy. So I have a pan full of wonderful tasting sugar coated pinenuts...but not at all brittle. Any suggestions? Thank you!

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8 months ago DavyD

The sugar needs to be completely melted before you add the pine nuts. I found that only occasionally stirring the sugar as it melted prevented clumping. Also, keeping the heat on low while mixing in the butter and pine nuts will prevent clumps.

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8 months ago serafinadellarosa

Just made this last night and it's out of this world. The pine nuts and butter clumped like made on me as well. I raised the heat and the sugar loosened up enough for me to be able to stir and pour.

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8 months ago Kim Borland

How long does this keep. My husband made it for Thanksgiving (lucky me, he loves to cook) and we were saving some for Christmas. I had a little piece the other night and it seemed fine, though maybe a bit of Rosemary was tough?

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8 months ago JSykes

This brittle looks awesome - but it seems to use a lot of pine nuts. I love them, but I'm afraid to eat more than a few. Anyone who has ever experienced a "taste disturbance" from them will know exactly what I'm talking about. Anyway, this is probably a bizarre sort of comment, but was just wondering if anyone had an issue with that.

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8 months ago carswell

I toast the pine nuts first. It enhances the nuttiness and reduces any residual bitterness in the nuts.

I first made this a couple of years ago and it was a huge hit. It's now one of my yearly donations to the festive season's indulgences.

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8 months ago koechin

i had been gifted with a large bag of raw cashews, so i toasted them and worked them into this brittle. for the top sprinkling salt i used a recipe for pomegranate salt that looked festively pink. don't know if it made much of a taste difference but it sure looked good. amazing recipe, thanks for giving me another kitchen gift recipe.

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8 months ago Ms. T

Oooh, what a nice twist! Happy that my recipe could be your starting point :)

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8 months ago LeeLeeBee

This recipe was so, so good. Any thoughts on whether adding baking soda, like in traditional peanut brittle, will increase airiness and crunch?

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8 months ago Ms. T

Hmmm...I've never tried it, but please report back if you try it! Glad you like the recipe :)

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9 months ago Ann Wilson

I'm assuming this brittle will stay 'hard and crunchy' if it's packaged properly. Sending some for holiday gifts. Anyone have suggestions regarding packaging?

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9 months ago Ms. T

Yes, just make sure it's fully cooled before you package it up in an airtight container. I usually use plastic food gift bags from the Container Store, tied with ribbon. I'm sure a cookie tin/or tupperware container would work too, but I would probably wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap inside.

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over 1 year ago ChefFace

Yummm... Made this twice over the holidays, it was a huge hit, thank you so much for sharing ;)

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over 1 year ago Bunnie1

The best gift I gave this year..... I used fresh rosemary I grow in my pot outside and sprinkled black cypress flake salt with pink river salt to the finished brittle ...... Beautiful !!!!!!!! Love love love this recipe!

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over 1 year ago Karli

Has anyone used organic cane sugar for this recipe? I just tried to use I & quickly realized my conundrum...color, the sugar is already a light brown, so I had no way of knowing when it was ready for the pine nuts. Black, I waited till the sugar was waaayyy too dark/burned (after letting it cook for 10 min, per the recipe's instruction). Is there a temp that the sugar should be before putting in the pine nuts? Has anyone under browned the sugar before putting in the nuts & then not had it turn out right?

Thanks!
K

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over 1 year ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I use organic cane sugar for making caramels all the time, so I know what you're talking about. I find tilting the pan and checking what a thin layer of sugar looks like helps visualize the color change better. The sugar turns a nice golden brown in the 325-330º F range.

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over 1 year ago Karli

Thank you! So helpful. Trying again...

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over 2 years ago cheese1227

My oh my! Just made this to serve as a garnish to a blood orange and fennel salad I am serving tomorrow. It is fabulous!

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over 2 years ago Choirbell

I made this brittle for Christmas and it was a huge success!!! Everyone loved the slightly sweet, salty savory flavors. It was a nice foil for all of the overly sweet goodies at the Christmas table!

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over 2 years ago chop chop

Made this for christmas gifts to send out of town. A different confection for sure. Love it. So did the receipients. I had quite a bit myself in the process.

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over 2 years ago charlotte au chocolat

This sounds incredible!

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over 2 years ago CookingMomTR

Just made this and I can't wait for it to harden up...love the buttery pine nuts melting in my mouth!

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over 2 years ago Kris Collett

This is a great recipe. This probably goes without saying for many of you, but make sure you have everything well prepared and measured out before you start this recipe. I'm an experienced cook, so sometimes, especially if working on just one recipe at a time, I don't set everything up, and just measure my ingredients in short pauses that a lot of recipes require. This one doesn't have too many pauses, so I was scrambling a bit! Nevertheless, the brittle looks beautiful and turned out wonderfully. I used a flaky fleur de sel (sp?) rather than grey sea salt, and it's still delicious. Thanks for a great recipe. I'm so glad I found this site!

Pamelalee

over 2 years ago pamelalee

Nameless no longer......I am so lucky to be your secret Santa recipient! Your pine nut brittle is out of this world. I can't wait to make the recipe myself. Thank you, Ms.T for such a thoughtful, yummy package! (A confession: as I was opening each little gift, I kept saying aloud, although no one else was around,"This is so much fun!")

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Yay! Your confession makes me smile from ear to ear. I felt the same way when I opened my box. This secret santa stuff is fun--I hope it becomes an annual tradition. Cheers!

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over 2 years ago nannydeb

I'm fortunate enough to have received this in my secret santa box (thanks Bevi!) and it's fabulous! And dangerous! I can't stop eating it! Wonderful recipe!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

So glad you liked it! I just tucked some into a box for my secret santa recipient, who shall remain nameless for the time being...

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over 2 years ago MelanieinSegur

Just made this! Love, love love! So very tasty. Thanks for sharing.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks, so glad you loved it!

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over 2 years ago Francoiseeats

Love a savory, hard herb in candy - definitely trying this when I get home. http://francoiseeats.wordpress...

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over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I toasted them, too, along with the rosemary. This is freaking amazing!

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over 2 years ago MAP

I toasted the pine nuts first and it is amazing, had to hide it from my family so that there
Is some left for tomorrow. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks for letting me know- I'll try that variation next time. Glad you liked it!

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over 2 years ago neighome

Holy cow! This ridiculously good.

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over 2 years ago freshjam

Started dry brining my turkey last nite from recipe on this site and saw this brittle mix. Pretty addicted to pinenuts and rosemary anyway. Knew I had to make this- just this morning. More than awesome! It will be a fantastic addition to the dessert buffet and maybe for gifting this next month! Thanks so much.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks, glad you like the recipe. I will be making lots for gifting also :)

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over 2 years ago ZiggyPiecrust

Wow - just made a batch because I'm procrastinating about packing and have been jonesing to make this. It's incredible and made it with fresh rosemary from our garden - if they're's any left, hope to smuggle some up to Canada tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving Ms. T.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks! Hope the smuggling was a success :)

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over 2 years ago Bevi

Well, I made a batch this afternoon, to take to our Bird in CT. The husband came home for dinner and took a bite. His feeling was I would have to make another batch, stating that this brittle was going to be gone days before I planned to serve it as a dessert treat. So I shortly finished making the second batch. There may be a third and even fourth in the making....

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Ha ha, the husband sounds wise ;) glad you liked the recipe!

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

The brittle was the hit of the Thanksgiving dessert table. I was cursed for bringing it - a few people said everything would have been fine diet-wise, but for the brittle! Oh well.

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over 2 years ago Summer of Eggplant

Congratulations! I can't wait to make this.

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over 2 years ago Oui, Chef

Congratulations Ms. T for a great win and a fabulous recipe. I just finished making the first batch of what I'm sure will be a lifetime of this brittle, and all I can say is WOW....amazing. "I pity the fool" who takes a pass on this one.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Ha ha, thanks Oui, Chef--glad you liked it :)

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over 2 years ago theyearinfood

Congrats on the win! I know firsthand how ridiculously addictive this is, and I second Ms. T's sentiments about the Christmas tree. I think this will have to become a holiday go-to.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thank you! It was so nice to meet you. I'm enjoying your gorgeous food photos on your blog (and on Food52).

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over 2 years ago Waverly

Wonderful recipe - something new, different, and I am sure delicious!

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over 2 years ago Spork

Made a half batch of this (pine nuts are expensive! hehe) just a couple hours ago and it is almost gone! Maybe I'll try it with some pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie spice, just for fun =) thanks for sharing the recipe Ms. T!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Yes, pine nuts are crazy expensive--this is definitely a "special occasion" recipe. I think I'll save it for the people on my list that have been especially good this year :) The pumpkin variation sounds lovely--let me know how it turns out.

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over 2 years ago Cookie16

It's ok, you're worth it ;)

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almost 2 years ago Tony S

Word to the wise... Do not cheat and purchase cheap pine nuts. If you buy them you should avoid those imported from China and Russia; stick to Italy and California.

They will cost more but you do not want Pine Mouth. Trust me- google it or search the hotline for the key words.

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over 2 years ago emadethis

I love the idea of this, but I have a pine nut allergy (thankfully that's the only nut I'm allergic to). Would almonds be a good sub do you think?

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Bummer that you can't have pine nuts, but yes, I think almonds would be great. I often make candied almonds with rosemary: http://www.food52.com/recipes..., which was my starting point for developing this recipe. And I've also made brittle (same butter/nut/sugar ratio as this recipe) with a mixture of almonds, pistacios and pumpkin seeds. I would recommend toasting the almonds first. Let me know how it turns out!

Karen_and_amy

over 2 years ago My Pantry Shelf

How long do you think this will keep?

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

It definitely keeps for at least 10 days--I just had the last bite from my November 5th batch and it still tasted great :) I think you could probably stretch to two weeks--there's plenty of sugar in there!

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over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Hats off to you!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congratulations Ms. T! What a great, and creative, holiday treat!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks fiveandspice! Hope it helps you rack up some points with the in-laws ;)

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over 2 years ago Midge

Big congrats Ms. T!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks Midge!

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over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Amazing headnotes from you Mrs T and simple execution. A must make.....Many congratulations

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thank you! It IS ridiculously simple to make...and deceivingly "fancy" when it's done ;)

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over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh yay! So very happy for you! Warm congratulations.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Congratulations, Ms. T! I'm looking forward to making these.

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over 2 years ago TasteFood

We just finished off the jar you brought to the lunch on Saturday - everyone loved it! Congratulations, Ms. T!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks TasteFood! I'm very happy that my recipe will get to keep such good company on that iPad app :) Go team rosemary!

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over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I had noticed the iPad app is heavy in rosemary recipes! 4 of the 5 winners have rosemary in the title - that's one popular herb!!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Indeed! The people have spoken and apparently, the people like rosemary. Luckily, I don't see any submissions for rosemary punch. But should you ever be compelled to do an all-rosemary meal, and need something to wash it down with, I do have a good recipe (not my own) for a cranberry-rosemary cocktail...

Karen_and_amy

over 2 years ago My Pantry Shelf

Congratulations!!! It really is exceptional, thank you so much for sharing!

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Congrats, Ms. T!! This sounds FAB, so earthy and sweet all in one...

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Wow! I'm totally honored and thrilled. Thank you all for your votes and lovely comments. I better start saving up to buy more pine nuts--I have a lot of brittle to make to fulfill on my campaign promises ;)

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over 2 years ago vvvanessa

congrats, ms. t! i love that my first taste of this delicious brittle was made by you!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thank you! It was so nice to meet you :)

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations on the win Ms. T such a wonderful recipe. YAY!!!

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over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

YAY!!!!!!!!! So many congrats to you - I know first hand how delicious this is!! Anytime you have a little extra, you just let me know and I'll walk down to your house!!!

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over 2 years ago Bevi

Congrats Ms. T! I can't wait to make these!

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over 2 years ago BlueKaleRoad

Congratulations! This brittle is divine and I'll be making it again for holiday gifts.

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over 2 years ago Beautiful, Memorable Food

What a wonderfully creative yet simple holiday treat! I have all the ingredients right now... I think I'll be making some soon. Congratulations!

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over 2 years ago MoreCheesePlease

Mmm this sounds amazing! I am expecting a sampling next month for CC :)

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks! It's a deal.

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over 2 years ago MoreCheesePlease

Mmm this sounds amazing! I am expecting a sampling next month for CC :)

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over 2 years ago Stephanie Leonard

yum

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I bet this would be great with a few toasted pepitos thrown in, as well. This is on the holiday give-away project plan, to be sure. ;o)

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over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Great idea!! I think I'll try that version too!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Mmm. I'll bet that texture would be divine. Let me know if you try it.

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over 2 years ago Cookin in Brooklyn

This looks FANTASTICO!!!

Cannot wait to try it while sitting around the fire at Christmas.

Thanks for the inspiration Ms. T. You ROCK.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks for the enthusiastic comment :)

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over 2 years ago Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast

I can't wait to give this a try!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks Brussels :)

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over 2 years ago Midge

What a brilliant combo. Look forward to giving this a try!

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I had some of this too, at the potluck yesterday, and oh me, oh my, is it tasty!! Addictive, in fact. Such a perfect solution, too, to the nut allergy challenge of holiday treat serving/giving. Great, great recipe!! ;o)

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks AJ--glad you liked it :)

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over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

There were absolutely delicious at our Food52 party yesterday!!! Soooo good, and perfect for my nut allergies.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks ChezS! I loved your apple tart also. I think I am still in a food coma from that party, but what fun!

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over 2 years ago lime lassi

That explains everything ! The constantly diminished supply of tinsel on the tree. Can't wait to try this with pine nuts. I am now seriously addicted to your rosemary almonds....

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Ha ha, thanks mom. Is that why you stopped hanging tinsel on our tree? Santa's watching, so if you're good, maybe you'll get some pine nut brittle in your stocking this year ;)

Karen_and_amy

over 2 years ago My Pantry Shelf

This is my favorite brittle, EVER! Nicely done, Ms. T. This will be on my holiday gift list for sure.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks My Pantry Shelf--glad you liked it! I will have to eat lots of sausage and kale tarts for dinner, since I blew my grocery budget on pine nuts this month ;)

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over 2 years ago artgirlricci

One of the best brittles I ever had. I had the real thing from Ms. T herself.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks Lisa :)

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over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

MsT this recipe is just the most mouthwatering thing I've seen in weeks! What a splendid idea. My husband and my in-laws are all pinenut-aholics and when I make this this year, I am going to earn so many brownie points! Woohoo! I'll give you all the credit, of course. :)

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over 2 years ago Oui, Chef

This recipe is absolute genius. I'll be making this over the holidays for sure!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Merci beaucoup, Monsieur O.C.!

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over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Yeah, that tinsel in the teeth is a bugger. This is one of the very few submissions I can actually eat, as I'm allergic to chocolate and nuts with the fortunate exception of pine nuts. You can't go wrong with rosemary, and to put them all together in a buttery brittle is, well, genius.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks! Ha ha, I'm feeling a little silly for writing that tinsel line...I think I was a little sugar-happy from too much brittle, and cracked myself up :) glad this recipe works for those allergic to nuts. I wish I could say it was intentional, but really just a nice coincidence.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks all for the nice comments--this made my day :)

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over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations! This sounds amazing

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thank you!

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over 2 years ago china millman

I want to make this brittle than fold it into ice cream -- has anyone else tried the Rosemary Pine Nut Praline ice cream at Ici in Berkeley?

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

That sounds like a brilliant idea. If you try it, please report back. No, I've never heard of that ice cream, but it sounds like I might need to make a field trip across the bay :)

Fb

over 2 years ago BlueKaleRoad

Congratulations on being a finalist! This looks divine - I'll be making some very soon.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thank you! Hope you enjoy it.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thank you! Hope you enjoy it.

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over 2 years ago creamtea

Congratulations becoming a finalist, Ms. T.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks creamtea!

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over 2 years ago creamtea

Congratulations becoming a finalist, Ms. T.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Congrats! I LOVE brittle of all sorts so I can't wait to try this wonderful version!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks EmilyC. I love brittle too--so easy to make and dangerously easy to eat too much :)

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Congratulations, Ms. T! This sounds fabulous.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks gingerroot!

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congrtulations on being a finalist, such a wonderful recipe so good to see a nut free brittle and with Rosemary, really delicious!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thank you. I'll trade you some brittle for some rugelach any day :)

Me

over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Yay!!! Congrats Ms. T! I'm making these for sure!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks ChezSuzanne :)

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

wow! congratulations on being a finalist!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thanks drabs!

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almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

The rosemary and caramel flavors work really well together. I love that you made a brittle w/o nuts, too, as some of my favorite people are allergic.

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almost 3 years ago Ms. T

Thanks hardlikearmour. Your rosemary pecan caramels look divine too!

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over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congrats on being a finalist! I had a feeling this might be chosen.

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Thank you! And I'm glad to see your caramels are up for a community pick :) Go rosemary!

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almost 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This looks just wonderful Ms. T!! Saved to make these - especially since they don't have nuts in them :-) I particularly like the rosemary with the pine nuts!

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almost 3 years ago Ms. T

Thanks ChezSuzanne. I didn't know that pine nuts weren't nuts (never thought about it before), so thanks for that tip and prompting me to do a little research. I learned something new today!

Lorigoldsby

almost 3 years ago lorigoldsby

i think I'll just put the tinsel around the bag when I make these for friends! Do you ever have a problem with it not setting up? Is there a particular temp range you like to use?

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almost 3 years ago Ms. T

Cute idea! Nope, I've never had a problem with them setting up--it's a very easy/forgiving recipe. I don't use a thermometer--that's too sophisticated for me--but I start with the flame on high and then turn it down to medium as the sugar melts and begins to turn golden. I just judge by color and smell.

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almost 3 years ago Ms. T

Thanks sdebrango--I'm a sucker for rosemary.

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almost 3 years ago Bevi

Terrific!

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almost 3 years ago Ms. T

Thanks Bevi :)

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almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love this Ms. T, the addition of herbs takes this to another level and makes it stand out! NICE!