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Hickory Brittle

Hickory trees are found all over the state of Kentucky, and author of Kentucky Sweets Sara Baird says their delicious interior, while difficult to remove, is well worth the effort. According to her, raw hickory nuts provide the best flavor in this brittle.

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. butter
2 cups hickory nuts, chopped
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Grease two baking sheets with butter and set aside. In a heavy-botton saucepan with a candy thermometer attached, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until mixture boils, then add butter. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture reaches “soft ball” stage, about 235 degrees F. Begin stirring and continue to cook until the mixture reaches “hard ball” stage, 266 degrees F. Add nuts, stirring constantly until the thermometer reads 300 degrees F, then remove pan from the heat.

Working quickly, add baking soda and vanilla to the mixture, stirring until combined. Pour onto prepared baking sheets and spread candy until a roughly even thickness. Taking all proper safety precautions (Baird suggests waiting about 60 seconds after pouring to pull and grabbing from both the edges and the middle) and using gloved hands, stretch the brittle until just thin enough to hold together the nuts. Break candy into pieces when cool and store in an airtight container. Makes 2 pounds.

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