Cayenne-spiked cashew brittle is delicious alongside crunchy chocolate bark.
1 1/2 cups whole raw cashews
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies or feuilletine
How to Make It
Step 1 make the brittle
Preheat the oven to 325°. Spread the cashews on a small baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, stirring once. Keep the cashews warm.
Step 2 make the brittle
Line a rimmed baking sheet with buttered parchment paper. In a saucepan, bring the sugar, corn syrup, butter and water to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until a deep amber toffee forms, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the baking soda and cayenne; it will bubble up. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the warm cashews.
Step 3 make the brittle
Pour the hot candy onto the baking sheet and spread it as thinly as possible. Let cool completely, then break into large shards.
Step 4 make the bark
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, melt two-thirds of the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate reaches 130°. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate until melted and the temperature drops to 85°. Return the bowl to the saucepan and warm the chocolate to 90°, stirring. Remove from the heat. Fold in the Rice Krispies. Spread the mixture on the parchment in a 1/4-inch-thick layer. Let harden completely, then break into large shards.
Milk Chocolate Bark Use milk chocolate instead of dark. Follow the same method: Melt two-thirds of the chocolate to 113°. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until 80°. Warm the chocolate to 85°; fold in the Rice Krispies.
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