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.
My favourite dessert is a thick slice of just-baked pie, with apples fresh from our local orchard, and still warm from the oven. But I’m always careful to save a thick wedge because I believe apple pie is at its best the next morning for breakfast. I prefer an easy-to-make butter pastry crust. Its secret is frozen butter, which adds flavour and is much easier than shortening to “cut” into the flour.
Nothing says summer like a batch of warm freshly baked shortcakes drenched with fresh local strawberries and topped with whipped cream. This particular recipe for my gold standard shortcakes is surprisingly easy to make, all you really need to do is stir some cream into some flour and bake away. And there’s lots of room for improv when you’re making shortcake!