Christmas has long been a time for overindulgence. Chocolate coins, mince pies, candy canes, peppermint bark, truffles, Quality Street, fudge and chocolate liqueurs are amongst the things many of us will be finding in our stockings on that special morning. I always find turkish delight in mine, my Dad unwraps walnut whips and my Mum will always find a Terry’s chocolate orange.
My suggestion is that you have a go at making your own sweet stocking filler this year- my four seed brittle.
Striking some balance between naughty and nice, this brittle has the sweetness that we crave but unlike the chocolate and mince pies, it packs a punch in the health department too. The seeds are brimming with amino acids and minerals and to ramp up the goodness, I’ve topped them with some bee pollen granules, kindly gifted by health food brand Comvita.
The bee pollen granules are a natural multi-vitamin and well revered superfood. They taste like a more floral honey and given that pollen is collected from flowers, that’s exactly what I expected. If you don’t have these to hand, don’t worry I’ve given alternatives if you read on.
My brittle carries pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and poppy seeds but you can use chia, flax, hemp or squash as well.You’ll need: 500g cups sugar 170ml water
1 tablespoon of flavourless oil (I used rapeseed)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
125g mixed seeds or nuts (I used sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and poppy) Toppings (optional): Bee pollen granules
Cocoa nibs Bitter orange Melted dark chocolate
Add the water, sugar and oil to a large pan over a medium high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Our aim from this point is to turn the mixture golden brown and to thicken it, which takes about 10 minutes.
Whilst you’re waiting, line two baking trays with greaseproof paper, checking back occasionally to stir and push down any sugar on the sides of the pan. You may need to reduce the temperature a little as the sugar mixture starts to expand.
Once you see that golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt and baking soda. The baking soda will prevent the brittle from turning teeth crackingly hard and the salt will give it balance.
Stir in the seeds and pour out on to the baking sheets. It will level it’s self out so there’s no need to play about with it.
Add any extra toppings that you’d like to be uncooked. I chose bee pollen granules for half of my batch and I’m adding it at the end to maintain it’s integrity as a vitamin packed superfood. The other half received chopped cocoa nibs and bitter orange. You could also add chopped dried fruit or a drizzle of dark chocolate.
Cut the brittle in to strips after around 10 minutes. If you do this too soon, the hot brittle will just run back in to the cuts that you make. Too late and the brittle will have hardened and be too brittle to cut neatly – which is absolutely fine if you’d prefer shards.
Once cool, these will keep for 2 weeks in a sealed container in the cupboard, but I doubt it will last that long if your house is anything like mine. You can pat yourself on the back for reaching for some seed brittle instead of a candy cane.