This cashew brittle is just the thing for when you want to make something that feels impressive but don’t want to spend more than 15 minutes making it.
It doesn’t require any fancy ingredients (ok, you should really get some Maldon sea salt for this if you don’t have some already, but really any sea salt or even kosher salt is fine). It’s just cashews, butter, sugar, corn syrup, baking soda, and the aforementioned sea salt. The only equipment you need is a pot, a rimmed baking sheet, and an inexpensive candy thermometer. (A silpat is nice, but not at all necessary.)
It has a lovely crunch and the baking soda adds a million tiny air bubbles that give it a lovely, delicate texture so you never worry about breaking a tooth. Starting with roasted and salted cashews gives this the perfect sweet-and-salty balance. And while you can substitute any nut, I really love the texture and flavor of cashews here.
Basically this cashew brittle is your perfect last-minute Christmas treat. It’s sweet, simple, and slightly addictive.
This cashew brittle can be made from start to finish in about 15 minutes. It’s simple, but it does require organization. You must measure everything out ahead of time and move quickly when the sugar comes to temperature. You can substitute any nut here, but I really like starting with something that has already been roasted and salted to get a nice balance of sweet and salty. The corn syrup is essential to the texture, so don’t leave it out or try to substitute it. You need a candy thermometer, a deep pot, and a rimmed baking sheet for this recipe. I like to line my baking sheet with a silpat mat, but if you don’t have one, you can spray it with nonstick spray or line it with parchment paper (or if your baking sheet has a nonstick coating you can leave it unlined). I strongly encourage using a flaky sea salt like Maldon for topping this.
- 2 cups sugar (400 grams)
- 1/2 cup water (115 grams)
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup (112 grams)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (113 grams, 1 stick)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 12 ounces roasted and salted cashews (340 grams)
- flaky sea salt for finishing
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper (or spray with nonstick spray). Add the sugar, water, corn syrup, and butter to a large saucepan. Measure out the baking soda and cashews and have them ready. Heat everything in the saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns golden brown and reaches 300°F on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the baking soda. It will bubble up furiously. Quickly stir in the cashews and immediately pour onto your baking sheet and spread into an even layer with a silicone spatula or long wooden or metal spoon. (You can really push it down for the first minute or two, but be careful, it is HOT.) Sprinkle sea salt over the top. Let it cool for about 30 minutes, then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.