I wanted to make something crunchy to accompany my Margarita Ice Cream. I wanted it to be sweet, but to have flavors influenced by what I know (not a lot) about Mexican cooking, and I wanted it spicy-hot to play against the cold and tangy ice cream.
I used Gale Gand's Sesame Brittle recipe in her book Just a Bite as a launching pad, and then tinkered with it a bit.
This recipe is what I came up with:
3/8 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 T unsalted butter
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp Tabasco Chipotle sauce
and 1/4 cup water (not in photo)
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 oz semi sweet chocolate (not in the photo - I decided to add that once I'd started)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
You'll also need a candy thermometer and a metal baking pan with sides. I used a 12" round when I was shooting these pictures, but I'd use something smaller next time - 10" or even 8" - because in the larger pan, the edges didn't have a lot of "stuff" in them - the nuts in particular - and tasted kind of blah.
Now, to make the brittle...
Grease the pan generously with vegetable oil and set aside.
Toast the sliced almonds (if you haven't already done so) and set aside.
Combine the sugar, cream of tartar and corn syrup with the water in a medium-sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
After it boils, stir the mixture occasionally.
Cook the mixture until it reaches 350 degrees F.
The color should be deep golden brown.
(It's getting there...)
When the sugar syrup is ready, remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted,
then stir in the chipotle sauce, the almonds, and the red pepper flakes.
Pour the mixture onto the oiled pan and spread it out a bit with the back of a wooden spoon, to about 1/4 inch thickness.
Let the brittle harden, uncovered, in a cool place, 30 to 45 minutes.
While the brittle is hardening, melt the chocolate in the microwave and stir until smooth. Stir in the cinnamon.
Drizzle the chocolate over the brittle and allow to harden.
The chocolate will take longer to harden than the brittle did. Don't be tempted to put the whole thing in the fridge - it will hurry the chocolate along, but the moisture in the fridge will soften the brittle.
Once the chocolate has hardened, pop the brittle out of the pan and break it into pieces.
Use brittle, if you wish, to garnish a bowl (or Margarita glass) of Margarita Ice Cream.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or 3 days if the weather is very humid.