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Salted Marcona Almond and Black Sesame Brittle With Coriander

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If you're a fan of brittle, you'll fall in love with this recipe. The flavor-packed, crunchy bites are utterly addictive... even if you don't have a sweet tooth!

Pan-roasted coriander seeds and black sesame seeds are tossed in a luscious syrup with salted Marcona almonds, then topped with coarse sea salt before the brittle sets. As you bite into the crunchy morsels, the coriander seeds release their exotic aroma -- making this brittle stunningly flavorful.

Now, you might be surprised to find corn syrup in one of my recipes. I'll confess that I only use it to make candies, which is a somewhat rare occasion. But corn syrup is "an effective inhibitor of crystallization," as Harold McGee, my guru when it comes to science in the kitchen, points out. And this is the reason that corn syrup is used for making candies. I have tested this recipe with lemon juice, which is supposed to have the same affect on the undesirable crystals, and it did a good job -- no crystals formed in the syrup. But the texture of the brittle was not at all satisfactory.... That batch ended up in the garbage bin.

Since I don't normally cook with corn syrup, and almost never buy processed food, I think having a little in this recipe is not a mortal sin... I hope you feel the same, and enjoy this marvelously flavorful brittle!

Recipe: Buttermilk panna cotta with kiwi compote and salted Marcona almond brittle

Salted Marcona Almond and Black Sesame Brittle with Coriander

makes 3 1/2 cups
active time: 30 min

For the roasted seeds
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds

For the brittle
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cup organic sugar
3/4 cup salted, roasted Marcona almonds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter -- at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 large jelly roll pan or baking sheet -- lightly buttered

Step 1: Heat a small heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the black sesame and coriander seeds and cook until the coriander turns a darker shade and the seeds are fragrant -- about two minutes -- shaking the pan frequently and taking care not to burn them. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Step 2: Place the baking soda and salt in a small bowl, stir well and set aside. Place the corn syrup and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium/medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir frequently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Continue cooking the syrup until it reaches 250°F (120ºC) on a candy thermometer. Stir in the Marcona almonds and continue cooking until the mixture reaches 320°F (160ºC) and has a golden color. Turn off the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda mixture. The syrup will foam and suddenly turn a darker color. Quickly add the butter and roasted seeds and continue stirring until the butter is well incorporated and the syrup looks smooth again. You must work quickly so the syrup doesn't cool too fast; otherwise it will harden. Pour the brittle onto the prepared pan and spread with a spatula or the back of a spoon into a 1/4″ thick layer. Quickly sprinkle with the coarse sea salt (before the brittle starts to harden) and let cool to room temperature. Break the brittle into pieces and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Cook's note: Most brittle recipes (if not all!) specify to cook the syrup until it reaches 300°F (150°C). I prefer to cook mine to 320°F (160°C), until the syrup turns a golden color. I find that this gives the brittle a deeper, caramel-like flavor. To clean your saucepan and spoon, simply soak in hot water for 30 minutes. The hardened syrup will completely dissolve.


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Take another bite: Biscotti with salted pistachios and kirsch-soaked dried cherries!