This Persian candy combines saffron with sweet sugar and crunchy pistachios, for a delicious sweet treat. Make this recipe for the holidays!
No matter where you travel in the world, you'll experience local foods made with regional spices and ingredients. Pistachios and saffron are prime examples of ingredients you will find in many Persian dishes.
This is because pistachios grow in only a few places across the globe. Interestingly, Iran is one of the top producers of them. The same can be said about saffron, because Iran is responsible for over 90 percent of the world's supply.
Both of these ingredients are delicious, precious, and expensive. However, the cost is a small price to pay in exchange for the flavor they impart. Especially in foods like delicious Persian pistachio brittle.
If you like the salty flavor and crunch of pistachios, you should check out my Egyptian Dukkah recipe. The almond-based spice blend is absolutely divine, and is a useful seasoning for many dishes.
Ingredients for Persian candy brittle
- ground saffron threads - Saffron has an intense flavor, floral aroma, and golden yellow hue. It is the most expensive spice in the world, but a little goes a LONG way.
- rose water- The best rose water brands are delicate ,and should remind you of fresh flowers rather than dry potpourri.
- white cane sugar- Fun food fact: One of the differences between brittle and toffee is the type of sugar. Toffee recipes almost always call for brown sugar.
- baking soda- This ingredient is partly responsible for the buttery consistency of confections like pistachio brittle.
Also, when baking soda activates with the sugar syrup, it causes a chemical reaction... bubbles!
- light corn syrup- You can make this candy without using corn syrup. Just substitute pistachios for the peanuts in peanut brittle without corn syrup.
- slivered almonds- If you don't care for the texture of slivered almonds, leave them out. Or, use crushed or chopped almonds instead
- unsalted butter - If all you have on hand is salted butter, you can use it. However, you will probably want to omit the salt called for in this recipe. Otherwise, your Persian candy may be too salty.
- chopped pistachios
- dried rose petals - Although they have a floral aroma, rose petals have a slightly sweet flavor. This makes them the perfect addition to both Persian sweets and desserts as well as savory dishes.
- Use parchment paper. Rather that greasing your baking sheet, line it with a sheet of parchment paper. This will prevent the brittle from sticking and also make the clean-up much easier.
- Work quickly. Cooked sugar confections like this one set up and harden very quickly after you remove them from the heat. The liquid sugar is very hot! So, while you need to be careful, you also need to work quickly.
Serving suggestions for pistachio brittle
If you're interested in Middle Eastern cooking, I recommend checking out Claudia Roden's cookbook, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
Another favorite is Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan from Naomi Duguid. The book has received numerous awards and recognitions, including an IACP Award for Best Cookbook of the Year. in Culinary Travel (2017).
Persian Candy: Pistachio Brittle
- ⅛ tsp saffron threads finely ground
- 1 tbsp rose water
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 3 tbsp honey
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ cup pistachios chopped
- 1 tbsp dried rose petals coarsely ground
- ½ tsp flaky sea salt
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray or line baking sheet with silicon mat.
- Crush the saffron threads with the back of a spoon in small bowl. Soak saffron in rose water in a small bowl and set aside.
- Bring sugar, corn syrup, honey, and 2 tablespoons of water to a boil in a medium saucepan fitted with candy thermometer over medium heat. Stir to mix and dissolve sugar. Cook, swirling occasionally, until thermometer registers 290°F, about 5 minutes.
- Mix in almonds, butter, and kosher salt and cook, stirring often, until almonds are golden, butter is absorbed, and thermometer registers 300°F, about 2 minutes. Vigorously mix in baking soda, then saffron rose water mixture. Caramel will bubble at first but then look smooth and creamy.
- Immediately pour onto prepared baking sheet and spread out as thin as possible with oiled spatula or by tilting baking sheet, work quickly. Sprinkle pistachios, rose petals, and sea salt over brittle. Let cool, then break into bite-size pieces.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.