How To Make Almond Brittle
By: admin On: 18 November 2021
Baking at home for this Christmas? Here is a simple Almond recipe that they always enjoy.
Found in variations across the world, almond brittle is a crisp toffee-like confection of sugar and almonds. Known in France as croquante, in Italy as croccante, and as torrone Siciliano in Sicily, it is widely associated with Christmas yet available all year round. Wrapped in cellophane, with maybe a ribbon or two, it is certainly hard to resist.
As a pastry chefs staple, the technique of bonding nuts in hard caramel forms the basis of many of dessert; classic or otherwise. The single almond, with its spear of hard crack caramel pointing skywards, or dramatic glassy shards added to create texture and height. Grind those shards to a fine powder and scatter it like crystal fairy dust for yet another dimension.
Smash it, bash it, leave it break-your-teeth whole. Almond brittle is something we simply can't get enough of.
And as if that weren't enough, almond brittle is sometimes then dipped, or coated, in chocolate. Time for a happy dance.
How to make almond brittle
There are so many variations of this simple recipe, all following along the same lines yet with slight differences. Some recipes use a classic caramel, made from just sugar, whilst others add water and/or butter. Most recipes use whole almonds, although variations can be found that use chopped, flaked or slivered almonds. Most recipes specify whole, unpeeled almonds but you could use blanched almonds if you wish. There's more on blanched almonds here.
And finally, although a classic almond brittle is kept as simple as possible, you can take it wherever you want in terms of flavour. Use salted almonds, or smoked almonds. You can add spices to your almonds, such as cinnamon. Maybe add a little miso to the mix.
Regardless of the exact recipe you choose to follow, you will want to begin with toasted almonds. Here's some ideas for toasting almonds.
The toasted almonds are stirred into skin-blisteringly hot caramel (that's your skin not theirs) and spread flat on a tray to cool and harden. It is deceptively simple, and not without peril. You need to be focused, paying attention to detail, and taking care. Boiling sugar is really really hot. And it sticks.
Almond brittle recipe
We are going to keep it classic. The recipe makes a deep dark caramel with a grown up edge that borders on bitter. Made in the traditional way, with just sugar, it is actually quicker and easier than labouring over a pan of water, sugar and butter.
500g whole almonds
half a lemon
- Toast and cool your almonds, as described earlier.
- Line a flat baking sheet with baking parchment (sprinkle a little water on the tin first so the paper sticks) and grease with olive oil.
- Place a frying pan over a low heat and add the sugar. As it begins to melt, shake the pan. Do not stir. If you really need to fiddle with it, use a wet pastry brush to clean down the sides of the pan.
- Keep shaking it occasionally until all the sugar has melted and you have a dark amber caramel.
- Tip in the almonds and stir to coat using a wooden spoon. Work quickly.
- Tip onto your prepared baking sheet, tilting the tray to level it out.
- Once cool enough to touch, wet your fingers and press the surface to even it out. It will cool and solidify very quickly.
- Rub the surface with the cut lemon. This will add a professional shine and a hint of acidity to the flavour.
- Either cut with a large knife before it cools completely solid, or break into shards once brittle.
How to make chocolate almond brittle
Once you have cut or broken your almond brittle, you can take it one step further and dip it in chocolate. Anything goes here. You can fully submerge it in chocolate, or just a quick dip of the underside to form a thin layer. Or dip a corner. Maybe dip the bottom, and drizzle across the top using a different type of chocolate.
How to store almond brittle
Sugar is a humectant, which means it attracts water. The last place it wants to be is the fridge. Ideally it wants to be kept in a cool dark place, and away from air. Wrapped in cellophane and kept in an airtight tin, it will keep for several months.
Why not check out our other great ideas for using almonds?
Did you know it can be way more cost effective to buy almonds in bulk?