Make Ahead

Wicked Brittle

October 14, 2010
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

I love Halloween but I am not a big candy eater. However, as the proud recent owner of Fany Gerson’s beautiful 'My Sweet Mexico' (thanks to the Piglet), I could not resist trying my hand at some candy. Inspired by the lonely bag of pepitas in my freezer and a quick Internet search, this brittle is adapted from a recipe by Susan S. Bradley. While orange and black may conjure up Halloween jack-o-lanterns, green (pepita) and black (sesame) makes me think of wicked witches. With a honey-butter caramel base, creamy macadamia, nutty pepita and black sesame, and additional warmth from the Ras el Hanout, this stuff is pretty wicked. I am almost certain that eating too much of it in one sitting will result in a trip to the dentist, so share with your friends!

Note: If you want the sesame seeds more evenly distributed, instead of spreading on the baking sheet, reserve sesame seeds and add right before the baking soda mixture, after the candy has reached the hard crack stage. Personally, I enjoyed the nuttiness of the clustered seeds. - gingerroot —gingerroot

Test Kitchen Notes

Candy-making can be intimidating but these directions were very clear. This brittle would please Halloween monsters young or old. The seed combination is really tasty, with the black sesame seeds giving a nice visual punch. The Ras el Hanout imparted a subtle but haunting flavor that will keep those trick-or-treaters coming back for more. - sticksnscones —The Editors

  • Makes a lot of brittle to share with friends
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry roasted macadamia nuts, cut/crushed into pieces
  • 1 cup raw pepitas
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nut honey (or another amber colored, robust flavored honey)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Fleur de sel for sprinkling
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray. If you have an offset spatula, spray that too (if not, the silicone spatula you use later will work).
  2. Combine macadamia nuts, pepitas, and black sesame seeds in a bowl, stirring to mix. Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet, leaving a one-inch border around the entire pan. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine baking soda, salt, and Ras el Hanout. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, honey, and water. Slowly bring mixture to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Once mixture comes to a boil, continue simmering mixture undisturbed, until a candy thermometer indicates it has reached “hard crack” stage, about 300°F. Remove pan from heat, and add black sesame seeds, stirring to mix. Carefully add baking soda-salt-Ras el Hanout mixture, stirring to mix. You will notice that mixture will lighten in color and the texture will become foamy.
  5. Pour candy over nuts on prepared baking sheet, using an offset spatula or silicone spatula to spread as evenly as possible.
  6. Allow brittle to cool completely before cracking off a piece to eat. Store brittle in an airtight container between pieces of parchment to prevent sticking; if you share with your friends it won’t last long!
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Review
gingerroot

Recipe by: gingerroot

My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love. Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.