Maple Cashew Brittle Recipe

Crunchy, buttery, and full of flavor, maple cashew brittle is a simple sweet treat that takes just 15 minutes to make. This classic candy originated in Eastern Europe but became popular across North America as maple syrup became more widely available.

According to Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, though store-bought brittle can be overly sweet and lack texture, homemade brittle is easy to customize to your taste. The secret is cooking the syrup to just the right temperature before adding the nuts — too hot and it will burn, too cold and it won't set properly. With a candy thermometer and a watchful eye, anyone can make this delicious brittle at home.

Unlike the usual peanut brittle, we chose to flavor this recipe with maple syrup and to make it with luxe cashews. These milky-fleshed nuts add protein and crunch, while the maple syrup provides a touch of earthy sweetness. Flaky sea salt on top adds the perfect, savory contrast that will leave your mouth tingling long after the last brittle piece is gone. This easy brittle recipe requires just seven ingredients you likely already have on hand. In practically no time, you'll have a batch of crunchy, nutty candy to snack on or to gift to your friends and family.

Gather the ingredients for maple cashew brittle

Making maple cashew brittle requires just a handful of simple ingredients that you likely have in your pantry and fridge. You'll need an equal mix of maple syrup for its distinctive flavor and corn syrup for its crystallizing properties. A touch of butter for richness and baking soda for its bubbly, light texture bring the dish together. The main ingredient is the nuts, in this case subtly sweet cashews. Finally, a sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top will go a long way toward balancing this sweet dish. With just these basic components, you can make crunchy, delicious cashew brittle with a delicate flavor.

Step 1: Prep baking sheet

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2: Start cooking brittle

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, and butter.

Step 3: Bring to 300 F

Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 300 F, stirring constantly.

Step 4: Add baking soda

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. The mixture will bubble up.

Step 5: Add cashews

Quickly stir in the cashews.

Step 6: Spread in a layer

Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer.

Step 7: Cool to set

Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and let cool for 30 minutes.

Step 8: Cut into pieces

Cut or break into pieces, then serve immediately or package in an airtight container.

Can I use a different type of nut instead of cashews in this brittle recipe?

Our classic maple cashew brittle recipe calls for roasted, salted cashews for their subtle sweetness and crunchy texture, but you can certainly customize it by using different nuts. The possibilities are endless! For a nut with more pronounced flavor, try toasted pecans or walnuts. Pecans offer a buttery, rich taste that pairs wonderfully with the maple syrup and is extra luxurious when topped with melted chocolate. Walnuts have a slightly bitter note that balances the sweetness of the dish. For tropical flair, try macadamia nuts or pistachios. Their creaminess lends itself well to brittle. Almonds are another easy swap — go with slivered or sliced almonds for even cooking and texture. No matter what nut you choose, the method remains the same, so go ahead and start swapping to find your favorite variation. You really can't go wrong with sugar, butter, and nuts!

How do I know when the sugar mixture for maple cashew brittle has reached the correct temperature?

Determining when the sugar mixture has hit the target temperature of 300 F is critical for maple cashew brittle. The ideal way is to use a candy thermometer clipped to the side of the saucepan, watching closely as the temperature climbs to exactly 300 F. You can also do a cold water test — drop a bit of the hot syrup into ice cold water and it should harden into brittle, solid threads that break when bent, signaling that it has reached the hard crack stage. Observe the color, as well, as the syrup will slowly darken from light golden to a deeper amber as it cooks. When it's a medium amber shade, it's nearly ready. Listen for the bubbles — at 300 F they will rise quickly to the surface and then suddenly subside. Also, pay attention to light cracking or popping sounds indicating that the water is evaporating and the sugar concentration is rising. These noises will speed up right before it's finished. It takes about 5–8 minutes to reach 300 F, so if all else fails, watch the clock carefully. Using these visual, auditory, and time-based cues will ensure that your brittle syrup is properly cooked.

I want to make maple cashew brittle but don't have a candy thermometer or the time to stand over the stovetop. Can it be made in the microwave, instead?

Making maple cashew brittle is possible in the microwave without a candy thermometer or constantly standing over the stovetop. Use a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup so that you can monitor the syrup's color as it cooks. Cook the syrup in short bursts of 30 seconds at first, then 10–15 seconds at a time, stirring in between to prevent overflow or burning. Watch the syrup closely as it gradually thickens and deepens to a medium amber color, stopping to test the temperature by dropping a bit into ice water and checking for brittleness. Allow the bubbles to subside after each burst to gauge the temperature. Cook until the syrup reaches 300 F, if you have a thermometer, or until the desired amber color is reached. Once it thickens properly, quickly remove it from the microwave, stir in the baking soda and nuts, then spread onto a baking sheet to cool completely before breaking into pieces. The microwave method requires attentiveness and testing the syrup often but avoids the need for standing over a hot stove. It allows you to achieve crunchy, delicious maple cashew brittle without dirtying a pan or constantly stirring.

Maple Cashew Brittle Recipe
4.9 from 32 ratings
This brittle is an easy, batch dessert that makes for great gifts or party treats. The unique additions of maple syrup and cashews provide an elevated bite.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
10
minutes
Servings
12
Servings
Brittle pieces on grey plate
Total time: 15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups roasted and salted cashews
  • Flaky sea salt, for finishing
Directions
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, and butter.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 300 F, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. The mixture will bubble up.
  5. Quickly stir in the cashews.
  6. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
  7. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and let cool for 30 minutes.
  8. Cut or break into pieces, then serve immediately or package in an airtight container.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 238
Total Fat 8.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 41.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 36.5 g
Sodium 144.8 mg
Protein 3.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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