Nut brittle -what went wrong?

Yamikuronue
  • Nut brittle -what went wrong? Yamikuronue

    I'm preparing to make pumpkin seed brittle, and I notice the recipe is very similar to the peanut brittle recipe I used before. Unfortunately, it turned out awful! The sugar never quite turned "light amber" even after almost an hour, and eventually I noticed it start to crystallize. I tried pouring it anyway and ended up with basically a clear sheet of sugar that dissolved into crystals when broken (I left off the nuts because I was pretty sure it was ruined - the nuts tossed in spices made a lovely alternate snack instead). I notice several comments having similar issues, but also many more saying "It worked perfectly the first time!" What did I do wrong? Should I use a different recipe? Is there some way to make this more foolproof? One of my friends started babbling about "invert syrup" being the cure for my ills...

    Recipe is at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/peanut-brittle-recipe/index.html . My attempt was done in spring in Manchester, UK, so while it may have been a bit damp, there wasn't likely to be a ton of humidity and no altitude problems.

  • You didn't heat it enough. "Turning light amber" means that you want caramel. What you did instead was to evaporate water from a sugar syrup, without reaching caramelization temperature. The crystals are not unusual (at some point you get a supersaturated syrup, after enough water has evaporated), but it is better if they don't happen, so don't give them occasion (use a clean pot, don't stir, etc. I suspect the oiling of the pan is meant to reduce nucleation sites).

    The recipe is a bit strange anyway, using way too much water. Maybe you can try another one, if this has negative comments. The regular recipes will use some more conventional nut instead of pumpkin seeds, but this doesn't affect the physics of making the caramel. And do yourself a favor and use a candy thermometer. There are experienced cooks who can make sugar candy without one, but if you are not one of them, you'll save yourself lots of errors (and probably enough money in expensive ingredients for the thermometer to pay for itself).

    Here is another recipe for brittle. While I haven't tried to make it, I strongly suspect that they know better what they are doing - not at least because they give you the exact temperatures you are aiming for. This is a site with lots of useful tips for candy making, and if you really want to try this without a thermometer, use their chart to learn about the different stages of sugar syrup and caramel.

    And choose your recipes carefully. Candymaking (both sugar and chocolate) is even more exact than baking. Directions like "put back on medium for some time" are practically useless. In order to successfully cook a candy recipe, you have to know if not the exact temperature, then at least the desired sugar syrup stage. Maybe somebody who has made lots of brittles could work with a recipe like the foodnetwork one, noticing the problems on the fly and making the appropriate corrections towards the ideal brittle mass. If you don't know what the ideal brittle mass looks like before you start, it is better not to try it that way and go for an exact recipe.

Tags
Related questions and answers
  • For Valentine's Day this year I attempted to make my wife a Key Lime Pie. I followed Emeril's recipe, with one small modification: I replaced the granulated sugar in the crust with a 1:1 ratio... with the molasses from the brown sugar in the crust, although that seems less likely to me (I've made plenty of pies with similar crusts that didn't have this problem). As described in the recipe, I baked..., but a very inexperienced baker, so overall I was very happy with how my first attempt turned out. However, after about 3 hours in the fridge this viscous liquid started seeping into the pie pan (see

  • ingredients mingle is water (a solvent extraordinaire & excellently thin transport medium). Will butter insulate this wonderful exchange? This Alton Brown recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/compound-butter-recipe/index.html) suggests chilling for two hours before serving. He's one smart cookie, so I tend to follow his lead, but is it worth waiting? Image from another recipe here...Edit: I plan to actually do a blind taste test to put this question to bed and satisfy my curiosity. If anybody wants to beat me to it, please feel free. If you make a salsa (for example) and store

  • I'm looking to try a marinade recipe I found recently that calls for tequila. However one of my friends is unable to consume alcohol. What would be a good flavorful liquid to use? I'm looking for a flavor that is fairly similar or at least somewhat close. Here's the recipe I'm looking to make courtesy of Alton Brown Ingredients 3 cloves garlic 1 cup packed cilantro leaves 2 limes, zested 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup tequila 1 pound tilapia fillets 1 tablespoon olive oil Directions Put the garlic, cilantro, lime

  • From here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-peanut-butter-recipe/index.html Ingredients 15 ounces shelled and skinned AB's roasted peanuts, recipe follows **1 teaspoon kosher salt** 1 1/2 teaspoons honey 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil What is the purpose of kosher salt in Peanut butter? Can it be replaced with something else?

  • My ice cream doesn't feel creamy enough. I got the recipe from Good Eats, and I can't tell if it's just the recipe or maybe that I'm just not getting my "batter" cold enough before I try to make it (I let it chill overnight in the refrigerator, but it doesn't always come out of the machine looking like "soft serve" as he said on the show - it's usually a little thinner). Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/serious-vanilla-ice-cream-recipe/index.html Thanks!

  • I recently made some homemade ginger ale. It was good, but it really tasted more like ginger beer. I was hoping for a flavor that tasted a bit more like golden ginger ale, sort of like Red Rock. It has a strong ginger flavor and a bite. What could I add (or how much more ginger should I add) to or what should I change in homemade ginger ale to get this "bite" and stronger ginger flavor?

  • I want to brine a turkey for Thanksgiving, using Alton Brown's recipe for brining. My wife is concerned that this will increase the amount of salt and sugar in the turkey, making it unhealthy. How much salt and sugar from a brine would end up in say a 12 pound turkey?

  • I just baked my first ever batch of American-style cookies (chewy chocolate chip cookies). I used the correct ingredients, including actual wet brown sugar, except for the chocolate - I had..., but more tough than brittle. I suppose that this is the desired texture, as they are called "chewy". I took my first batch out of the oven, and it seems that I reached too deep with the glove and touched a cookie. It was squished. All the cookies turned out to be puffy and prone to deflating. Also, they have a cracked surface, unlike the pictures in the recipe illustrations. Is this normal

  • Thanksgiving and Christmas of last year I tried my hand at frying a turkey. Everything was fine but I could never seem to get the peanut oil up to 350℉ (175℃). I followed Alton Brown's Recipe but just couldn't reach 350℉. The best i did was 275℉ to 300℉ (135℃ to 150℃) which meant I left the turkey in a little longer and burned it a little too much. Any advice?

Data information