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So many nut brittle recipes


Darienne
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I had two cups of leftover syrup from candying ginger (Andie's recipe). Last time I had leftover syrup, I made little hard candies. No problem.

This time I decided to make a pecan brittle. Started to look in the books I have with me: Time-Life 1981, Ruth Kendrick's Candymaking, Candymaking for Dummies, Candy.com printouts, etc. Suddenly I was drowning in recipes. Butter: no butter. Whipping cream: no cream. 1/4 teaspoon soda: 1 whole teaspoon soda. And so on.

I decided to use Ruth's Pecan Brittle, keeping in mind that I was starting with a sugar syrup. All went well until I added the butter and the temperature did NOT drop. (It was supposed to drop and then you heated it back up.) I didn't know what to do. So I went to the 'add the nuts' step. Perhaps I should have cooled it and then put it back on the stove instead. Unlike many of you, I did not grow up learning to do anything at my Mother's knee and carried on from there in similar fashion until recently. This is all new to me.

The resulting confection is delicious in the extreme, but it is not brittle. It is still quite toffee like.

- can I somehow by reheating it in the oven or stove take it to brittle even with the pecans in it?

- should I soften it in the oven and roll it into balls and dip them in chocolate?

- would it have been more 'peanut brittle' like if I had added more soda? Ruth calls for 1/2 teaspoon. Less peanut brittle like with 1/4 teaspoon? .....right. I did make sponge toffee and it called for more soda....

Sorry, with no experience to fall back on, it can be very confusing to know what to do.

Just why are there SO MANY nut brittle/ crunch recipes? Is it on a par with so many, say, spaghetti sauce recipes?

Thanks :wacko:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I had two cups of leftover syrup from candying ginger (Andie's recipe).  Last time I had leftover syrup, I made little hard candies.  No problem.

This time I decided to make a pecan brittle.  Started to look in the books I have with me: Time-Life 1981, Ruth Kendrick's Candymaking, Candymaking for Dummies, Candy.com printouts, etc.  Suddenly I was drowning in recipes.  Butter: no butter.  Whipping cream: no cream.  1/4 teaspoon soda: 1 whole teaspoon soda.  And so on.

I decided to use Ruth's Pecan Brittle, keeping in mind that I was starting with a sugar syrup.  All went well until I added the butter and the temperature did NOT drop.  (It was supposed to drop and then you heated it back up.)  I didn't know what to do.  So I went to the 'add the nuts' step.  Perhaps I should have cooled it and then put it back on the stove instead.  Unlike many of you, I did not grow up learning to do anything at my Mother's knee and carried on from there in similar fashion until recently.  This is all new to me.

The resulting confection is delicious in the extreme, but it is not brittle.  It is still quite toffee like.

- can I somehow by reheating it in the oven or stove take it to brittle even with the pecans in it? 

- should I soften it in the oven and roll it into balls and dip them in chocolate?

- would it have been more 'peanut brittle' like if I had added more soda?  Ruth calls for 1/2 teaspoon.  Less peanut brittle like with 1/4 teaspoon?  .....right.  I did make sponge toffee and it called for more soda....

Sorry, with no experience to fall back on, it can be very confusing to know what to do.

Just why are there SO MANY nut brittle/ crunch recipes?  Is it on a par with so many, say, spaghetti sauce recipes?

Thanks :wacko:

Sorry it didn't work for you. The butter has water, so it should have dropped the temp. Are you sure your thermometer is accurate? If it is not brittle, you didn't cook it to a high enough temperature. I think this time you are just going to have to rename it--not much you can do with it at this point. Were the nuts warm when you added them? I'm not sure what you mean "toffee like". If it is that brittle, you should be ok. If your idea of toffee is soft, then it is a different toffee than I am used to.

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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I had two cups of leftover syrup from candying ginger (Andie's recipe).  Last time I had leftover syrup, I made little hard candies.  No problem.

This time I decided to make a pecan brittle.  Started to look in the books I have with me: Time-Life 1981, Ruth Kendrick's Candymaking, Candymaking for Dummies, Candy.com printouts, etc.  Suddenly I was drowning in recipes.  Butter: no butter.  Whipping cream: no cream.  1/4 teaspoon soda: 1 whole teaspoon soda.  And so on.

I decided to use Ruth's Pecan Brittle, keeping in mind that I was starting with a sugar syrup.  All went well until I added the butter and the temperature did NOT drop.  (It was supposed to drop and then you heated it back up.)  I didn't know what to do.   So I went to the 'add the nuts' step.  Perhaps I should have cooled it and then put it back on the stove instead.  Unlike many of you, I did not grow up learning to do anything at my Mother's knee and carried on from there in similar fashion until recently.  This is all new to me.

The resulting confection is delicious in the extreme, but it is not brittle.  It is still quite toffee like.

- can I somehow by reheating it in the oven or stove take it to brittle even with the pecans in it? 

- should I soften it in the oven and roll it into balls and dip them in chocolate?

- would it have been more 'peanut brittle' like if I had added more soda?  Ruth calls for 1/2 teaspoon.  Less peanut brittle like with 1/4 teaspoon?  .....right.  I did make sponge toffee and it called for more soda....

Sorry, with no experience to fall back on, it can be very confusing to know what to do.

Just why are there SO MANY nut brittle/ crunch recipes?  Is it on a par with so many, say, spaghetti sauce recipes?

Thanks :wacko:

Sorry it didn't work for you. The butter has water, so it should have dropped the temp. Are you sure your thermometer is accurate? If it is not brittle, you didn't cook it to a high enough temperature. I think this time you are just going to have to rename it--not much you can do with it at this point. Were the nuts warm when you added them? I'm not sure what you mean "toffee like". If it is that brittle, you should be ok. If your idea of toffee is soft, then it is a different toffee than I am used to.

The temperature should absolutely have dropped when you added the butter.

I think I've seen a probe thermometer that goes in one direction (up) and then, if the temperature drops suddenly, you have to turn it off and back on to get it to register the correct temp. Bizarre, I know... Maybe you have one like this?

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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The other possibility could be that your thermometer probe moved. For example, I try to take the temp with the tip of the thermometer in the center of the post, in the center of the liquid. When I go to stir, I often set the thermometer on the side of the pot which means the tip is now resting on the hot metal of my pot. Is this possibly what happened? If so, then either your first or second reading may have been off. This is also why I really want an infrared thermometer for Christmas.

Edited by gfron1 (log)
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Sorry it didn't work for you.  The butter has water, so it should have dropped the temp.  Are you sure your thermometer is accurate?  If it is not brittle, you didn't cook it to a high enough temperature.  I think this time you are just going to have to rename it--not much you can do with it at this point.  Were the nuts warm when you added them?  I'm not sure what you mean "toffee like".  If it is that brittle, you should be ok.  If your idea of toffee is soft, then it is a different toffee than I am used to.

Yes, I was using two thermometers, one glass and one metal probe and they both were working.

Yes, the nuts were warm out of the oven. I was very careful.

When I said toffee...I meant chewy and pully. Soft. Not brittle. "Pecan Chews". There. Thanks. :smile:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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The temperature should absolutely have dropped when you added the butter.

I think I've seen a probe thermometer that goes in one direction (up) and then, if the temperature drops suddenly, you have to turn it off and back on to get it to register the correct temp.  Bizarre, I know...  Maybe you have one like this?

I thought the temperature should have dropped, but it didn't. I will try it all again and perhaps this time, it will be apparent what I did wrong. And I will use all correct ingredients...no ginger syrup stuff.

My thermometers are just a simple glass candy one and one of those $25 metal probe attached to a little unit one. Nothing complicated.

My problem seems to be that I have no real idea of what I am aiming for, never having made any of this stuff before. My confectionary partner, back in Ontario, grew up cooking at her Mother's knee and I rely on her for that part of the learning experience.

Thanks for your thoughts. :smile:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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The other possibility could be that your thermometer probe moved.  For example, I try to take the temp with the tip of the thermometer in the center of the post, in the center of the liquid.  When I go to stir, I often set the thermometer on the side of the pot which means the tip is now resting on the hot metal of my pot.  Is this possibly what happened?  If so, then either your first or second reading may have been off.  This is also why I really want an infrared thermometer for Christmas.

Now that is a distinct possibility, that the thermometer touched the bottom or side of the pot. I had taken out the metal probe, but perhaps I jarred the glass one.

I hope Santa brings you an infrared thermometer. :rolleyes:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Now that is a distinct possibility, that the thermometer touched the bottom or side of the pot.  I had taken out the metal probe, but perhaps I jarred the glass one.

Also consider that the liquid where the butter was dropped would have been cooler than the surrounding liquid. Whenever I add butter to my caramel, I notice there are hot spots, so I mix thoroughly to get a more accurate reading.

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The other possibility could be that your thermometer probe moved.  For example, I try to take the temp with the tip of the thermometer in the center of the post, in the center of the liquid.  When I go to stir, I often set the thermometer on the side of the pot which means the tip is now resting on the hot metal of my pot.  Is this possibly what happened?  If so, then either your first or second reading may have been off.  This is also why I really want an infrared thermometer for Christmas.

Now that is a distinct possibility, that the thermometer touched the bottom or side of the pot. I had taken out the metal probe, but perhaps I jarred the glass one.

I hope Santa brings you an infrared thermometer. :rolleyes:

I don't use the infrared on boiling syrups - I don't find it terribly reliable. I use the metal probe.

Silly question, but did you take it to the right temp (C vs F) - that's were I screw up most times.

I think a brittle needs to get to about 300 F or about 150 C.

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I don't use the infrared on boiling syrups - I don't find it terribly reliable.  I use the metal probe. 

Silly question, but did you take it to the right temp (C vs F) - that's were I screw up most times.

I think a brittle needs to get to about 300 F or about 150 C.

I followed the recipe religiously. "Cook to 285 degrees (minus 8 degrees for being up at 4000' which makes it 277 degrees)" Both thermometers were in agreement. In fact, the glass thermometer was new...the old one being now in disgrace for inaccurate readings. Both perfect in the boiling water test.

What I really wanted to know was if the stuff is redeemable. Ruth suggested not. However, in true pig-headed amateur fashion, I am going to try reheating a bit in the microwave to see if I can turn it into brittle. As it is it is not useful to me in this state. It can't really be given away and that was the purpose behind making it. We can't keep the entire thing. Too dangerous. I could just heat it to warm and rip it apart and form it into some shape and dip it in chocolate.... I am torn.

What I REALLY need is a course in basic candymaking. I have printed out the 101 course. I mean a course WITH someone who can say...no, don't do that. Etc.

Thanks for the help. :smile:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Also consider that the liquid where the butter was dropped would have been cooler than the surrounding liquid.  Whenever I add butter to my caramel, I notice there are hot spots, so I mix thoroughly to get a more accurate reading.

I thought I mixed it well enough, but then...who knows. Something I did was incorrect. As I said to Kerry, I need a basic course. My partner, Barb, knows all the stuff but she is 2,500 miles away. :sad:

Thanks. :smile:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I don't use the infrared on boiling syrups - I don't find it terribly reliable.  I use the metal probe. 

Silly question, but did you take it to the right temp (C vs F) - that's were I screw up most times.

I think a brittle needs to get to about 300 F or about 150 C.

I followed the recipe religiously. "Cook to 285 degrees (minus 8 degrees for being up at 4000' which makes it 277 degrees)" Both thermometers were in agreement. In fact, the glass thermometer was new...the old one being now in disgrace for inaccurate readings. Both perfect in the boiling water test.

What I really wanted to know was if the stuff is redeemable. Ruth suggested not. However, in true pig-headed amateur fashion, I am going to try reheating a bit in the microwave to see if I can turn it into brittle. As it is it is not useful to me in this state. It can't really be given away and that was the purpose behind making it. We can't keep the entire thing. Too dangerous. I could just heat it to warm and rip it apart and form it into some shape and dip it in chocolate.... I am torn.

What I REALLY need is a course in basic candymaking. I have printed out the 101 course. I mean a course WITH someone who can say...no, don't do that. Etc.

Thanks for the help. :smile:

I wonder if 285 is a bit low?

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I think a brittle needs to get to about 300 F or about 150 C.

What I REALLY need is a course in basic candymaking.  I have printed out the 101 course.  I mean a course WITH someone who can say...no, don't do that.  Etc.

I wonder if 285 is a bit low?

Here is an interesting situation:

Ruth's recipe as printed on eG, thread 'Gobs of Pecans', gives the first temperature as 285*; the second after the addition of the butter is 270*. Her original recipe in Candymaking gives the two temperatures as 295* and then after the butter, 280*. I followed the 'Gobs of Pecan's temperatures. (Hey Ruth! We still adore you. :wub: )

So perhaps the first set would have been more appropriate. I still don't have those warning signals in my head. That will come with time. I hope.

Question: what about my idea of putting some in the microwave or oven or pot, reheating it? Is it too late because the pecans will burn? Or what? I guess I'll try it come hell or high water, even if I have to throw it all out.

Thanks. :smile:

(The editing was my trying and finally succeeding in using the italics mode)

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I followed the recipe religiously.  "Cook to 285 degrees (minus 8 degrees for being up at 4000' which makes it 277 degrees)"  Both thermometers were in agreement. 

I wonder if this correction for altitude remains valid as the target temperature gets higher and higher. My understanding of the physical chemistry is that an adjustment is necessary to compensate for the fact that water boils at a lower temperature as the altitude increases. Could it be that there are other processes occurring in the cooking candy that are not subject to the same correction and may weigh more heavily in the results when the target temp is farther away from the boiling point? I'm just speculating, though I'm sure there are food scientists who would have detailed answers. If I was significantly above sea level myself, I would research this more....

Fern

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I wonder if this correction for altitude remains valid as the target temperature gets higher and higher.  My understanding of the physical chemistry is that an adjustment is necessary to compensate for the fact that water boils at a lower temperature as the altitude increases.  Could it be that there are other processes occurring in the cooking candy that are not subject to the same correction and may weigh more heavily in the results when the target temp is farther away from the boiling point?  I'm just speculating, though I'm sure there are food scientists who would have detailed answers.  If I was significantly above sea level myself, I would research this more....

Fern

Interesting point. Out of my league at present seeing as my stay in this altitude is so recent and I am mathematically challenged.

To return to an earlier point....I did put a piece of the chewy stuff in the microwave for 2 30 second periods. It melted completely but that was all. I could retry the stuff for additional periods to see what happens. You can make brittle in a microwave very easily.

However, following an earlier thread in which I managed to cook caramels too long and they ended up crunchy and following instructions I managed to return them to caramel stage...could I do this with the chewy 'brittle' which, while chewy, is really just too tough to coat with chocolate.

:angry: I should stop all of this and follow some recipes properly. :angry:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I would opt for Kerry's suggestion of turning this batch into ice-cream sauce, with that I do not think you can fail to get something tasty and useful out of it.

I think Fern has a good point about the altitude adjustment. I have no experience of altitude cooking but the emphasis always seems to be on the effect on boiling water temperatures. A caramel at high temperatures has very little water left in it so this must have some impact on the corrections. So if for example cooking oil heats at altitude to the same temperatures as at sea level then I would say the altitiude correction could have been the problem.

Next time could you double check doneness with the drop of caramel syrup in ice cold water method?

I admire your determination!!

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I would opt for Kerry's suggestion of turning this batch into ice-cream sauce, with that I do not think you can fail to get something tasty and useful out of it.

I think Fern has a good point about the altitude adjustment. I have no experience of altitude cooking but the emphasis always seems to be on the effect on boiling water temperatures. A caramel at high temperatures has very little water left in it so this must have some impact on the corrections. So if for example cooking oil heats at altitude to the same temperatures as at sea level then I would say the altitiude correction could have been the problem.

Next time could you double check doneness with the drop of caramel syrup in ice cold water method?

I admire your determination!!

Somehow I missed the ice cream sauce post from Kerry, but I think that's the one. It is so delicious and we have folks coming for lunch tomorrow. Thanks Kerry.

I think that you and Fern may well have some excellent ideas about the altitude and the obvious lack of water in the mixture as the thermometer climbs. I will try the drop in ice cold water next time for sure. So much to learn always and so many folks out there to teach it. I am so grateful. :wub::wub:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I think Fern has a good point about the altitude adjustment. I have no experience of altitude cooking but the emphasis always seems to be on the effect on boiling water temperatures. A caramel at high temperatures has very little water left in it so this must have some impact on the corrections. So if for example cooking oil heats at altitude to the same temperatures as at sea level then I would say the altitiude correction could have been the problem.

At altitude, you have to adjust (lower) your deep fry temperatures as well, not because the oil isn't as hot, but because of the water escaping the food you are frying faster.

FWIW, I made some cashew brittle/toffee yesterday (at 7500 feet) and cooked it to 325F, which is the same temp listed in Joy of Cooking's regular recipe. There may be a point about candies after the water has boiled off. Anyway, for toffee you can just cook it until it is about the color of peanut butter, testing it occasionally by dripping some on a cold surface to make sure it hardens. Hard crack stage should be around 300F at sea level, after that you get your carmelization. I think the browning you get before that is the butter browning, not the sugar.

I would think that a recipe with cream was meant to be a chewy candy, aren't hard toffees usually just sugar, butter, and nuts? And adding baking soda makes the candy foam up and gives a lighter texture

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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I made pecan brittle a couple of days ago, and being the lazy person I am, I let it sit out instead of packing it away in an airtight container. Now that it's a bit sticky, is there any way I can get it dry again? It doesn't have to be very dry, just dry enough so the pieces don't stick together when I finally pack them up.

Another questions--what's the point of the baking soda? The recipe I used had a whopping 1T of baking soda, and now I feel like my brittle tastes more like sponge candy than brittle. I kind of don't like it (but I'll still eat it). Can I reduce the baking soda without affecting the recipe much?

The ingredients I used were:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 1/2 cups pecans

1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon baking soda

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I made pecan brittle a couple of days ago, and being the lazy person I am, I let it sit out instead of packing it away in an airtight container.  Now that it's a bit sticky, is there any way I can get it dry again?  It doesn't have to be very dry, just dry enough so the pieces don't stick together when I finally pack them up.

Another questions--what's the point of the baking soda?  The recipe I used had a whopping 1T of baking soda, and now I feel like my brittle tastes more like sponge candy than brittle.  I kind of don't like it (but I'll still eat it).  Can I reduce the baking soda without affecting the recipe much? 

The ingredients I used were:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 1/2 cups pecans

1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon baking soda

The baking soda aerates the toffee as well as causing darkening. One tablespoon sounds like a lot for that recipe, you could probably cut it back to about 1 teaspoon.

Don't know if there is anything you can do to dry it at this point though.

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The baking soda aerates the toffee as well as causing darkening.  One tablespoon sounds like a lot for that recipe, you could probably cut it back to about 1 teaspoon. 

Don't know if there is anything you can do to dry it at this point though.

Ah, that explains why my brittle is so dark. It doesn't taste burnt at all, but looks like I overcooked it slightly.

I guess I'll just have to eat it all before it gets too sticky! I kind of like when it sticks to my teeth, anyway. More to snack on later!

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  • 2 months later...

Am I correct in assuming that it would be a mistake to use caramelized cacao nibs in a brittle because they are already cooked and would therefore burn in the process?

Greweling's Peanut Brittle calls for raw peanuts, with a variation of 'cocoa nibs' with no mention of raw, cooked or otherwise.

Thanks :wink:

edited for typos

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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