Recipe: Salted Pistachio Brittle

Yesterday, I gave you my mother's recipe for truly excellent Christmas fudge, the kind that'll make people hound you for tins of it year after year. Today, for those with less of a sweet tooth, here's a recipe that we adapted from The Kitchn, who, in turn, adapted it from Food & Wine. Moral of the story? Work with a recipe until it works for you. Nothing is hard and fast in the kitchen, after all, save the basic laws of physics.

This recipe for salted pistachio brittle is one that can easily be adapted to include other nuts and flavorings. Over the weekend, I'll be trying pecan and ancho chile (hell, yes) and walnut with candied orange peel. The original recipe called for far more nuts, but I prefer a more even nut-to-brittle ratio; change this to suit your needs, of course.

Lastly, we used a Silpat to let the brittle dry and harden on. I highly recommend this if you have one. Otherwise, wax paper should do the trick nicely too.

Salted Pistachio Brittle Adapted from

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 9 ounces shelled pistachios
  • Himalayan pink sea salt (regular sea salt will work, too)

In a large Dutch oven or thick pan, combine the sugar, water, butter and corn syrup and bring to a full, rolling boil. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to darken (a caramel/amber color is the darkest you want to let it get) and has the very first hints of a lightly burnt aroma. This takes about 10 minutes.

Make sure you have your Silpat or wax paper laid out on top of a large baking sheet. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda. The caramel will bubble. Stir in the pistachios, then immediately scrape the brittle onto a your baking sheet. Using the back of your spoon, spread the brittle into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle lightly with the Himalayan pink sea salt.

Let cool completely, which takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the humidity. Break the brittle into large shards and package festively. Note: This recipe doesn't make nearly enough brittle for more than two gift packages, so feel free to double or triple as necessary; the recipe multiplies very well.

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Katharine Shilcutt