Pistachio Brittle

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8

Brittle is an old-time confection that is popular around the winter holidays. Although it’s usually made with peanuts, this recipe calls for pistachios, which add a vibrant green color. The brittle keeps well, allowing you to enjoy it long after the holidays have passed. It also makes a wonderful gift. Other types of nuts, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, can be used along with, or in place of, the pistachios.


  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus more for buttering baking sheets
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. plus 1 cup water 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 lb. shelled unsalted pistachios


Preheat an oven to 250°F. Generously butter 2 rimmed baking sheets and place them in the oven.

In a small bowl, stir together the baking soda, the 1 tsp. water and the vanilla; set aside.

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the 1 cup water, the corn syrup and sugar. Cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar crystals, until the mixture is clear in color and a candy thermometer registers 240°F, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the 3 Tbs. butter and the pistachios and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened and the thermometer registers 300°F. Watch carefully to prevent the mixture from burning. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda mixture. Be careful, as the mixture will bubble up.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven. Carefully pour half of the candy mixture onto each warm baking sheet and quickly spread into an even layer, about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside to cool for about 1 hour.

When the brittle is cool, lift the edge and break the brittle into large or small pieces. Store in layers, separated by waxed paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. Makes about 2 lb.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining, by Georgeanne Brennan (Oxmoor House, 2007).

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