Thursday, December 20, 2018

Gingerbread Brittle

Gingerbread Brittle is a sweet, spicy, melt in your mouth confection perfect for sharing with Santa... Or keeping all to yourself!

When it comes to the finishing touches on my gift baskets every Christmas, I always make sure to include some sort of candy. Some years, I've made as many as 8 different types - from licorice caramels to lemon drops - but since time and space was at a premium, and my giftee list was slightly smaller, I stuck to just a few this time around. Usually, I'm not a huge fan of toffees and brittles - they're too sweet and cloying for my taste, and frankly I'd much rather have a sour key or square of dark chocolate. However, other people seem to love them, and who am I to deny the people of what they want?

This year, I found probably the best option to cover both bases - Gingerbread Brittle. While it is still, undeniably, candy, it is swirled through with a medley of warm, rich spices and has a hint of classic gingerbread bitterness from the molasses as well. Since I used a high-fat European style butter, the brittle had a sheen and almost butterscotchy note too, the best of all worlds! Perfect for last minute gifts or a dessert potluck, it cooks up in a flash (mine was done and cooling in under 10 minutes) and makes enough for a crowd or for wrapping in little plastic bags. As with any sponge toffee or brittle, this uses baking soda to help give it an airy, melt-in-your-mouth texture, and frankly it's my favourite part of the whole brittle making process (hearkening back to the days of baking soda and vinegar volcanoes). After cooling for a few hours, the whole slab looked like textured marble, and it broke up neatly into pieces.

The tiny bit I was able to taste was heavenly - think a lighter, spicier Werthers - and those who received it waxed poetic on it's taste as well. I've even given out the recipe a few times, so now I'm sharing it with you!

Gingerbread Brittle 
Adapted from Better Recipes
Makes ~ 1 lb, 6 oz
½ tbsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon¼ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp cloves
⅛ tsp allspice
1 tbsp canola oil
2 cups sugar
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup dark or golden corn syrup (you can also use amber honey but the taste will be sweeter)
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed (I used a European style)
¾ cup water
½ tbsp baking soda
  1. Line a 12"x18" rimmed baking sheet with silicone or parchment (do not use foil!)
  2. In a small bowl, mix the spices with the oil, set aside. 
  3. Combine sugar, salt, corn syrup, molasses, butter, and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil without stirring. 
  4. Cook, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 300F. 
  5. Remove from heat whisk in the spice and oil mixture, followed by the baking soda (it will foam). Immediately pour onto the baking sheet, scraping the bottom of the pot. 
  6. Let cool at least 2 hours, then break candy into pieces and serve or package in air-tight containers.

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