Spice up your snack life with this seedy, snappy brittle. Once you master the art and craft of making a homemade brittle, the possibilities are endless. Substitute other spices, stir in your favourite nuts or seeds, you can even you chopped up pretzels or cookies!
Making caramel is easy, but it does benefit from keeping a close eye. The sugar syrup might not look like it's doing much for a while but as soon as it starts changing colour, stay close to the stove. It can go from light yellow, to dark brown, to a smoking black mess in a matter of moments. It's also extremely hot, so exercise caution and keep it away from young fingers until it has completely cooled.
Yield: 1 full baking tray
2 cups (500 mL) of water
2 cups (500 mL) of sugar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of butter
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of whole fennel seeds
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of whole caraway seeds
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of baking soda
freshly ground pepper
Lightly oil a baking tray or line with a non-stick silicone baking mat.
Pour the water into a large pot, then carefully add the sugar in a small, tight pile in the centre taking care to avoid the inside edges of the pan. Begin heating over medium heat but don’t stir! The water and sugar will quickly dissolve together and form simple syrup. As the heat continues to rise, the sugar will start to turn pale golden. When you see the first hint of colour, gently swirl the pan to keep the colour even. When it’s a deep golden brown, remove the pan from the heat. Quickly and carefully add the butter. It will splatter, so be careful! Whisk in the butter until the butterscotch is smooth. This will quickly drop the sauce’s temperature and prevent it from over-browning. This whole process will take about 10 minutes.
Quickly stir in the seeds then sprinkle in the baking soda. The mixture will foam vigourously. Continue to stir well and pour on the prepared baking tray. Smooth it out, top with a sprinkle of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper before candy brittle hardens. This will happen quickly, in about 10 minutes. Allow the whole thing to cool before cracking into bite-sized pieces. Serve and share.
Fruit baked under a topping is delicious and so is fruit baked in the topping. Easier too. Just mix the works together into one tasty jumble. Half fruit, half crumble, all easy. Locally delicious too, especially during the seasonal sweet spot when your local strawberries line up with longer-season fresh rhubarb. Make the most of this classic good cop/bad cop duo contrasting sweet and tart personalities!
You can create this dessert with any of the season's berries. Unless you have strawberries fresh from your backyard or the local farmer’s market though, use frozen strawberries for the best flavour. Fresh from away is a waste of time. Just saying.