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Sweet & Smoky Pistachio Brittle

I’m hesitant to reveal my new favorite holiday tradition because I may not find a seat so easily after I share it. The last few years I’ve attended Tuba Christmas with my in-laws. Over a hundred tubas play classic holiday tunes and you’re encouraged to sing along! I grumbled the first year we were asked to attend. The holidays wear me out with all the pressure to celebrate glorious moments of shared bliss and beauty in an increasingly restricted time frame. Call me Scrooge, but….

This was different. All over the world communities host this joyful, crazy event. It’s one thing to watch a concert—but how about singing as loud as you like to the thrumming vibration of tubas belting out "Joy to the World?" Amazing—no one can even hear if you’re singing off key or flub the words!

To have the energy to carol with the tubas, we share snacks. This year I made Sweet & Smoky Pistachio Brittle to share before heading out for the festivities. You can make enough to package and share with your favorite friends if you like, but save some for yourself—it is sooo delicious.

To get started, gather all the ingredients you’ll be using—butter, sugar, corn syrup, pistachios, mixed nuts, spices and baking soda.

Measure out the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ground chipotle chile pepper. You can substitute regular chile powder for the chipotle, but it won’t have the same deep, smoky flavor.

Next, coat the measuring cup with cooking spray to make it easier for the corn syrup to come out of the measuring cup.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, spices and water in at least a 3-quart heavy sauce pan. If you have a bigger pan such as a 4-quart pan, use it—it allows more room to mix the nuts in later.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a full boil (around 5 minutes).

Meanwhile, line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil and butter the foil.

Now add the ½ C. butter and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the candy thermometer reaches 300°F.

It’s ready if a small amount dropped into ice water forms hard, brittle strands (about 25 minutes).

Stir the pistachios and mixed nuts into the candy mixture. Remove from heat.

Stir in 1 teaspoon baking soda, then immediately pour onto the prepared pan.

Try to spread the mixture to about a ¼ inch thickness.

Cool completely before breaking into bite-sized pieces. If you manage to have any leftovers, store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

This picture of "Tuba Christmas" hardly captures the spirit of being serenaded by thundering tubas, but this crunchy, sweet and spicy brittle is a perfect match for our family’s fun holiday tradition.

I’d love to hear any comments you’d like to share about this Sweet & Smoky Pistachio Brittle…come back in a few days when I will share another delicious holiday recipe, a perfect dessert to serve to friends.

Emily is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.


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Lucky Tuba/Euphonium players. Our Tuba Christmas is outside and doesn't have any yummy snacks with it either!

Posted Dec 13 2012 by Vicky

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    Hi, I'm Becky. I'm eager to share my best ideas and favorite recipes from my 20+ years in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen. I'm also excited to help with any questions you have about cooking and baking with Land O Lakes® products. Some of the questions and answers will be published in our newsletter, The Measuring Cup®. Please use the short form below to ask your questions, or share your tip or memory.

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