The stars of this recipe are the cocoa nibs, also known as cacao nibs. Cocoa nibs are roasted bits of cocoa beans that have a crunchy texture and a deep, rich chocolate flavor. They are not sweet at all, but that makes them a perfect match for a sugary-sweet brittle. They can be purchased online or at some baking and kitchen stores. There is no substitute for cocoa nibs in this recipe, but if cannot find cocoa nibs I recommend trying one of these other brittle recipes instead.
Yield: about 3/4 lb
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp (2 oz) butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 oz (about 3/4 cup) cocoa nibs
- 2 vanilla pods, seeds scraped (can substitute 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and water, and place the pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar and butter dissolve, then insert a candy thermometer.
3. Cook the candy, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 335 degrees F (168 C) on the candy thermometer. The candy will get quite dark and fragrant during this cooking process.
4. Once it reaches 335 F, remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda and salt. The baking soda will cause the mixture to foam up, so be careful and stir thoroughly.
5. Quickly stir in the cocoa nibs and vanilla seeds, and stir until they're well-distributed.
6. Scrape the candy out onto the prepared pan, and spread it into as thin a layer as possible.
7. Let the brittle cool for a few minutes, until it is still pliable but not burning hot. If you have food-safe latex gloves, you might want to put them on to protect your hands from the heat. Otherwise, spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray. Carefully start pulling the brittle between your hands, stretching it as thin as possible. When you can no longer stretch it, let it cool completely at room temperature.
8. Once cool, break the brittle into small pieces to serve. Cocoa Nib Brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. It can be enjoyed plain, or try crumbling it and mixing it into ice cream or pudding. You can also chop it finely and use it like toffee bits in cookie or brownie recipes.