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1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Light corn syrup
1/4 Cup Unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Ground cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. Ground nutmeg
1 Tsp. Pure Vanilla bean paste or extract
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
2 Cups Sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
Large pinch of flaky salt (Maldon is a favorite)
1) Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or tin foil; set aside. Spray a wooden spoon with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
2) In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and heat over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring the mix and let the mixture come to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer. (hard crack stage)
3) Once the caramel comes to temperature, remove the pot from the heat and add the teaspoon of baking soda. Stir quickly with the wooden spoon sprayed with cooking spray. Add the sunflower seeds and continue stirring until combined.
4) Quickly and carefully pour the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out as much as possible. Immediately sprinkle with the flaky salt. Let cool completely and then break into pieces. The brittle will be very thick and dense so spread quickly and use pressure to get it as thin as possible. Enjoy!
NOTES: I love making nut and seed brittles around the holidays. They are the perfect gift to make in batches, wrap and gift to friends, family and coworkers. For this holiday season, I chose sunflower seed brittle and the family loved it.
I also decided to “season” my brittle with cinnamon and nutmeg for extra flavor. I don’t ususally add spices to brittle recipes, but this time I did and really liked the results. I get asked questions all the time about making brittle, so here are my most frequently asked questions and answers.
Can you make brittle in the microwave?
Absolutely. I often do. You can see my Microwave Peanut Brittle recipe for tips and timing. You’d follow the same instructions on that recipe but would substitute sunflower seeds.
Do I need a candy thermometer to make brittle?
If you are making any kind of nut or seed brittle recipe on the stove, you definitely need a candy thermometer so you know when you are at that hard crack stage. It is almost impossible to dermine by just “looking at it”. I have had good luck doing it in the microwave without a thermometer but just follow the timing in the recipe I referred you to above and make sure you are stirring in between heatings.
Do I have to use peanuts in my brittle?
You can use any nut, seed or combination that you like. Be creative. Last year, I made Pistachio Brittle which was a big hit.
Is making brittle a good option when working with kids?
NO. Hot sugar is very, very hot and you can get burned easily if you aren’t careful. In addition, you have to move quickly so I don’t recommend this for young aged children.
What is your number one tip for making brittle turn out right every time?
Make sure you work quickly. Stir in your baking soda rapidly, add the nuts, stir and pour onto prepared sheet. Spread it out quickly (it starts to harden fast) and as thin as you can get it.
With those tips, you should be ready to make brittle anytime you like. You may want to see my tips for Wrapping Candy, Nuts & Baked Goods. Brittle packages well and lasts a long time so it makes the perfect gift. Put a few pieces in plastic bags with a bow is an easy way to gift a lot of people. Holiday boxes and tins, make excellent vessels for a large batch of the candy.
Homemade candy making doesn’t have to be hard. You just need a candy thermometer and patience. Have fun!
If you’d like to try your hand at other homemade candy, try these recipes: