MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS (1/2 CUP CHOPPED PLUS SHARDS)
ACTIVE TIME:15 MIN START TO FINISH:30 MIN
Gourmet Magazine DECEMBER 2003
1/2 cup walnuts (2 oz), toasted, cooled, and finely chopped with a knife (see Tips)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: a nonstick bakeware liner such as Silpat (optional)
Shake nuts in a sieve to remove nut powder (this will make for a clearer brittle).
Line a baking sheet with nonstick pad or with an oiled sheet of foil.
Heat sugar and water in a deep 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork, until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel without stirring, gently swirling pan, until golden. Stir in walnuts, then immediately pour caramel onto baking sheet, tilting sheet to spread caramel as thin as possible. Cool brittle completely at room temperature.
Coarsely chop enough brittle to measure 1/2 cup, then break remainder into shards for decorating cake.
COOKS’ NOTE: Brittle can be made 1 week ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.