Monday, June 11, 2007

Chocolate-Covered Almond Brittle

Here's another of my favorite candies for gift-giving. It's equally delicious without the chocolate coating.


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1 Tblsp. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
12 ounces dark or milk chocolate confectionery coating (almond bark)

Butter a metal baking sheet generously and have it ready. In a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, corn syrup, and salt; mix well. Microwave on High for 4 minutes. Stir in almonds; microwave on High for 4 minutes. Add the butter and vanilla; microwave on High for 1 - 1/2 minutes. Stir in baking soda. As soon as the mixture foams, quickly pour it onto the prepared baking sheet. The mixture will probably spread out on its own, but you may have to help it out a bit with a spatula to achieve an even thickness.

Cool completely, then break candy into pieces about 2 inches in size. The pieces will be irregular in size and shape.

Melt the chocolate coating in microwave. Dip one edge of each brittle piece in melted chocolate and place the pieces on wax paper until the chocolate coating is firm. Store in an airtight container -- a tin is ideal.

Makes about 1 pound candy.

I have always made this candy in a heavy glass bowl, but last Christmas I had a little misadventure with it: I combined my sugar and corn syrup and stuck the bowl in the microwave for 4 minutes, then ran upstairs to do something else until the timer went. I heard a popping sound or two but didn't think anything of it. The timer went off and I opened the microwave door... to find an amazing sight!

The sides of the bowl had separated from the bottom. So what I had was a shallow glass bowl full of molten sugar/corn syrup, and a separate glass ring that had originally been the rest of the bowl. Very interesting! More interesting still was the question of how I was going to safely remove the liquid (more-or-less)-filled "bowl" without spilling anything or seriously hurting myself. I could easily remove the ring part, so I did that and took it immediately to our glass recycling bin. I finally figured out that I could safely remove the "bowl" part, with its rapidly hardening (but still incredibly warm) contents, by pulling it out microwave tray and all. Then I set it in the sink and filled it with water.
What a mess! I eventually did get all of the molten sugar mess out of the "bowl" and got it clean enough to place in the recycle bin.

And yes, I did make another batch of the stuff. I used a 3-quart Pyrex casserole this time and watched it like a hawk. It came out just fine, thankfully.

So I offer this recipe to you with some trepidation. Try it if you like, but I recommend using a Pyrex casserole dish.

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