There's something so beautiful about brittle — especially the kind so clear you can see right through it. It takes a lot of sugar to make brittle, so I like to balance out all that sweetness with more savory flavors and ingredients. In this case, toasty hazelnuts and fresh rosemary perfume the crunchy shards of caramelized sugar.
This brittle is cooked sugar at its simplest. Plain sugar, water, and corn or agave syrup to keep the mixture stabilized are boiled until the sugar caramelizes into a beautiful amber color. Be careful when cooking sugar, though, as it gets quite hot. Make sure you have lots of room in the pot (use a heavy-bottomed one if possible) and don't walk away when the sugar starts to take on some color, as it can go from amber to burned quickly.
The texture of this brittle is very crisp and candy-like. It will keep for weeks and also makes a beautiful food gift. Tie a little sprig of fresh rosemary on the packaging to give a hint of the tasty treat inside!
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup or agave nectar
2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup or agave in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until the mixture is an even, deep amber color (about 345°F on a candy thermometer), about 20 minutes more.
Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the hazelnuts, rosemary, and salt. Pour onto the baking sheet and use a rubber spatula to spread it into an even layer. Let cool completely until hardened and then use your hands to break it into pieces.
- Storage: The brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.