This classic candy, flavored with honey, makes a nice addition to the Passover dessert table. Choose a heavy-bottom saucepan so the sugar melts and cooks evenly until it caramelizes to form brittle. Before it melts, use a wet pastry brush to chase errant, dry crystals from the sides of the pan; if you leave them there, they can cause the syrup to crystallize. And don’t stir the bubbling sugar because that can also cause crystal formation. Instead, hold the pan handle with a pot holder and gently swirl the pan. Pros rely on color to judge when the sugar has caramelized. Here, with honey turning the syrup dark, a candy thermometer is essential. When you reach the caramel temperature, stir butter or margarine and toasted almonds into the hot caramel, and with a wooden spoon, spread it on an oiled baking pan. Once it cools, break it up and stack it on a platter. The brittle keeps in an airtight tin in a cool place for several days.
|Oil (for the pan)|
|1½||cups whole unskinned almonds, roughly chopped|
|2||tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into pieces|
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand 2 rimmed baking sheets. Oil 1 baking sheet.
2. On the other sheet, spread almonds. Toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until they begin to release a nutty aroma.
3. In a heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, combine sugar, water, and honey. If there are any sugar crystals on the side of the pot, use a wet pastry brush to brush the crystals down into the pan. Cook without stirring until the sugar melts and the mixture is translucent.
4. Without stirring, bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to cook the mixture until a candy thermometer inserted into the middle registers 300 to 310 degrees; swirl the pan gently if the mixture is turning darker at the edges than in the middle. Remove the pan from the heat. With a wooden spoon stir in the butter or margarine until it melts.
5. Stir in the almonds. Pour the mixture onto the oiled baking sheet. With the back of the spoon, spread it into a thin layer. Set the pan on a trivet in a cool place to firm up.
6. When the brittle is cool enough to handle and snaps easily, break into jagged pieces. Store in an airtight container. Karoline Boehm GoodnickKaroline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.