I’ve always been a big fan of peanut brittle, until I tried vegan walnut brittle. Now I’m a big fan of that. The walnuts add an extra creaminess that peanuts don’t have. I have kept the walnuts as halves for this vegan walnut brittle recipe, rather than chopping them up. This is for aesthetics, but also so that you don’t end up with a cloudy toffee when you come to mix in the nuts, which a lot of crumbs would produce.
What you need to know about making brittle.
You are looking to heat the toffee to the ‘hard crack’ point, which lies somewhere between 146-154°C. This is the point at which the toffee will become hard and brittle when cooled. A sugar thermometer is the best tool for this (I got one on Amazon), or a regular food thermometer will also work fine. If you have neither, it takes about 20 minutes of simmering to get to this point. To test it you can drop a tiny amount into a cup of water. It will immediately harden. Remember to be extra careful when handling hot toffee.
Once the toffee for this vegan walnut brittle reaches this point and you turn off the heat, it will begin to harden very quickly. For this reason, you want to stir in the nuts with the heat still going and have your lined baking sheet ready to pour the mixture straight into. Trust me, even as you’re levelling it out on the sheet it will be hardening and become quite a difficult task. But don’t let this put you off as this stuff is amazing.
Also, you’ll want to grease both sides of the greaseproof paper with vegan margarine, or you’ll have a hell of a job getting the paper off the toffee afterwards.
Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 25 minutes. Cooling time: about 90 minutes to completely cool.
Makes 1 tray.
Vegan margarine for greasing
450g unrefined sugar
175ml cold water
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g walnut halves
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Grease a baking sheet with half of the margarine, line the sheet with greaseproof paper and then grease the top of the paper as well with the remaining half.
Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to boiling point. Add the golden syrup and salt and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the toffee reaches the ‘hard crack point’ of around 150°C.
Mix in the walnuts while the heat is still going (please be careful, this stuff is hot), then pour immediately onto the lined baking sheet. Spread it out using the back of a spoon so that the walnuts are evenly distributed, and the toffee reaches the edges of the tray. Allow to cool completely before touching. Peel the paper off as soon as it is cool and break up to serve.
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