Recently I took a trip upstate New York and, having a sweet tooth, chocolate shops have always caught my attention.
So when I passed one by, I couldn’t resist but stop in. While there were many delectable treats, the peanut brittle was a favorite. It was sweet and slightly spicy.
One of my favorite things to do is recreate those interesting morsels I taste along the way using whole, natural, and (if I can) vegan ingredients. So I decided to engineer this one, adding a special ingredient: crystallized ginger.
To give this brittle my signature twist, and in keeping with my family’s tradition (when making ginger snaps) I used crystallized ginger. Biting into a chewy chunk of ginger is a bit of an acquired taste—but those who warm up to it love the sweet and slightly pungent tang that this root adds.
To make this recipe vegan and natural, I used agave nectar instead of corn syrup and organic raw turbinado sugar. Both can be found at a local health market or Whole Foods.
3 cups turbinado sugar
1 cup light agave nectar
1/2 cup water
2 cups dry roasted cashews
1/4 cup crystalized ginger chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
splash lime juice
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Once pan is hot, turn off oven. A hot baking sheet helps brittle spread easily.
Combine turbinado sugar, agave nectar and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Heat for 10 minutes or until mixture reaches 300 degrees.
Remove from heat. Stir in baking powder, vanilla and salt. Put on heat again. Stir in cashews, ginger, pepper, vanilla, cinnamon and lime juice. Leave on heat for about 1 to 2 minutes.
Spread onto baking sheet to desired thickness. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator.
Break into pieces and store in an air-tight container.
This brittle adds a zip to vanilla ice cream. Crush it and sprinkle over the top with a freshly sliced mango.
A personal favorite is eating it plain with a glass of lemonade. It could be that it brings back memories of summer hikes and stopping for lemonade and gingersnaps along the way. But a little nostalgia makes us savor the sweetness more.
Author: Jane CoCo Cowles
Editors: Catherine Monkman; Emily Bartran
Image: Clotee Allochuku/Flickr