Friday, December 18, 2009

Easy, last-minute gifts: Saffron-cardamom pistachio brittle

Every year, I fill baskets with homemade treats for my extended family. This is one of the most-requested items: a Persian-inspired candy made with fragrant saffron and cardamom and studded with pistachios. It comes together in minutes and makes a lovely last-minute gift.

Saffron-Cardamom Pistachio Brittle

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup roasted pistachio nut meats
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 large pinch saffron threads

Measure nuts into a small bowl, add cardamom. Rub saffron threads between your hands to powder them, then add them to the nuts and toss to coat. Set aside.

In a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup, stir together the sugar, salt, and corn syrup. Microwave on high, uncovered, for 4 minutes.

While candy is cooking, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Spray two spoons with non-stick spray, and set aside.

Quickly stir the hot syrup (make sure to scrape down the sides of the container), then microwave on high again, uncovered, for 1 more minute. It will turn a very pale gold color.

Add nuts to syrup, stir quickly, and microwave again, on high, uncovered, for 30 seconds.

Carefully pour the molten candy onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, and spread it out as much and as thinly as possible using the two sprayed spoons. Work quickly -- it hardens fast. Allow to cool, then break into pieces.

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