I held back using my gold dust until this recipe and it was so hard! I've loved brittle since forever and don't really discriminate between kinds. Cashews, especially roasted and salted ones are just delicious in the rich, crackly base. Plus, because of their crescent shape, they seem to look more like the swoops in a golden, Edwardian picture frame, (which is where my idea came from for gilding brittle in the first place).
If you are a brittle master, then use the recipe you already love using cashews. If you haven't made it before or have only dabbled, try this one! It's not as complicated as you might think, although, you do need a candy thermometer to make your life easy. (I know, I know, the ladies in previous centuries just "knew" when 'hard-crack' stage was reached, probably instinctively. But it would be silly to assume that their brittle never accidentally came out like taffy, right?)
P.S. This makes a lovely gift that must be wrapped in cellophane.
"Gold dust is easily purchased online, just make sure you are buying edible food-grade dust, and not only decorating dust.
Notes: Butter is unsalted.
GILDED CASHEW BRITTLE
Ingredients: 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 6 tbsp. butter, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 cup roasted and salted cashews, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp. edible gold dust.
Makes about 20 3-inch pieces.
1. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray well with cooking spray.
2. In a large saucepan, heat sugar and corn syrup over high heat until a low boil is reached. (Whisk only once to combine the sugar and syrup prior to boiling.) Turn the heat down slightly to maintain a medium, steady boil and go for 12 minutes, swirling the pan every once in a while.
3.Use candy thermometer and once sugar has reached 290 degrees, quickly whisk in the butter and vanilla followed by the baking soda- mixture will foam up. Cook while stirring until temp reaches 300-310 degrees. The color will look like dark peanut butter. Working quickly, stir in cashews then dump the entire brittle mixture out onto the baking sheet.
4. Smooth out brittle mixture working fast (it hardens fast) to roughly 1/3 inch think. Let brittle sit at room temperature until completely cool, about 2 hours.
5. Brush hardened brittle with gold dust. Crack brittle with a mallet or break into pieces with your fingers. Store in airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Tip: The key is working fast once the correct temperature is reached, so have your cashews, baking soda, and butter ready to go. It also helps to have someone pour in the cashews while you stir, and to smooth the brittle while you pour it onto the sheet. That said- you can also totally do it yourself, which I did.