January 24, 2011

Maple, Granola Brittle 2.0

Last Friday, I wrote about my own recipe testing adventures for Food52.com and lucky for me (and well, I guess you too) this website also has a few readers who are willing to get their own pots and pans dirty for the good of the team.

If you’ve been following Sodium Girl for a while, you may remember the runny, gooey mess that was my attempt at making Salt-Free Maple, Granola Brittle. This was my first try at being a home-made Willy Wonka and I’m being kind when I say that I wasn’t successful. I not only failed to make the sugary treat, I also broke my mother’s garbage disposal when I dumped it down the drain. Insult. To. Injury.

Even though I said I would revisit the recipe another time, the honest truth is that the whole disaster left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Actually, it left me with no taste at all since I never made anything that was edible. I had no intention of touching this brittle ever again. Not even with a ten foot candy thermometer.

However, this story has a fairytale ending. For despite my spite, a brave soul – with a knack for pretty much anything from hand-sewn tea cozies to, as you will see, sugary treats – rode in on her white horse and picked up the challenge where I left off.

Three emails and five different versions later, my mother’s friend, Joann, had crafted a brittle recipe that she was proud to call her own. Dark and nutty, the brittle had a perfect balance of creaminess and crunch. The smell was intoxicating and the taste was even more addictive. And even though she had made bag-fulls for us to try, it didn’t take long for them all to disappear, landing somewhere between my butt and my thighs.

I am beyond thrilled to revisit the brittle disaster and present to you a truly perfected recipe for home-made, salt-free Granola Brittle. And when your sweet tooth is looking for someone to thank, don’t look at me. All accolades go to Joann and her tireless trials.

So Joann, thanks for your effort (and those four extra pounds). Our hats and fillings go off to you.

Chow on.


  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup Light Karo Syrup (100mg of sodium – seems like a lot, but only slightly higher than 1 egg)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ stick unsalted butter


1. Spread the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and rolled oats on a large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and roast them in a 350° oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2. Meanwhile combine the sugar, syrup and water in a heavy saucepan.

3. Stir until the sugar dissolves over medium heat, then increase the heat and bring to a boil. Wash down the sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Be sure all of the crystals are washed into the boiling mixture.

4. Continue boiling and insert a candy thermometer into the mixture, submerging the tip but not far enough to touch the bottom of the pan. Boil the mixture until the thermometer reads 360° and is a dark caramel color. Immediately remove from the heat. Remove the thermometer and add the butter, stirring well to mix thoroughly. Working quickly, add the seed mixture all at once and mix well. Pour it onto a well-greased cookie sheet and use a rubber spatula to press it down to a uniform thickness of about an eight of an inch. You can use a small rolling pin or the rubber spatula to make it more even.

5. Set it aside to cool. Once fully cool, turn the pan over and flex the middle of the pan to release the candy onto a clean counter. Break it into smaller pieces…and…chow down!

6. Store it in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Release the extra air in the bag and seal it. The candy will become sticky if it’s exposed to air for long periods, but will keep well if properly stored.

Joann January 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm

WOW…thanks for the shout-out, Jess!! I’m feeling like a real celebrity…intoxicating…can you tell I’m blushing?

Sahil December 7, 2013 at 9:54 am

This is a Great Recipe, My Grand mother used to prepare it for us, You will feel good to know that in our Native Language we call it “Gajak”

Karen K February 2, 2014 at 11:46 am

How long will the candy mixture take to reach 360 degrees?? I am totally new to candy. Thanks!!

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