This fabulous Sea-Salted Quinoa Pecan Brittle is wonderful as a snack, dessert, with yogurt and fruit, crumbled on ice cream, salads or oatmeal. It's shatteringly crisp, uniquely delicious and takes MINUTES of hands-on time!
While flipping through a recent issue of Food and Wine I stopped dead in my tracks when I spied a recipe for Quinoa Granola. I was super intrigued, but when I read through the recipe, decided it was a little too fussy; cook the quinoa, dry it out in the oven, make a (somewhat tricky) caramel sauce on the stovetop, mix it all together then move quickly to spread it out before it begins to harden and is too thick. Definitely too fussy! So I checked out a few alternative techniques and came up with this Ridiculously Easy Sea-Salted Quinoa Pecan Brittle. I think you're going to love it!
Are you sure?
I found an easy technique for making brittle in the oven over at Minimalist Baker and ran with it, using my own unique ingredients (quinoa, pecans and sesame seeds along with maple syrup and brown sugar) and adapting the technique a bit. When the first batch emerged from the oven, I was certain that it was a failure. The finished product on the pan was spoonable and definitely not crisp and "brittle-ish". But I gave it a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and magically, as the mixture cooled, it transformed to a thin, shatteringly crisp, toffee-flavored brittle. YAY!
I was super impressed and couldn't stop nibbling on the delectable confection. It's buttery, sweet, crunchy and SO delicious! It need a name so I decided on Sea-Salted Quinoa Pecan Brittle.
If you're a follower of The Café, you know all about our Ridiculously Easy recipes. Feel free to just skip to the next section. But we have lots of new readers all the time so I like to take the time to explain this very special, super popular category of recipes.
We call these recipes Ridiculously Easy because they truly are very easy but they're also delicious, impressive recipes that you can feel proud to serve. You can read more about these Ridiculously Easy recipes in this post but my abbreviated definition for them is: "The recipes that make you look like a kitchen rock star with minimal effort on your part."
How to use this Sea-Salted Quinoa Pecan Brittle
Although like most types of brittle, this Sea-Salted Quinoa Pecan Brittle is wonderful to nibble on to satisfy a sweet tooth, there are some other fun things to do with it. I like to serve pancakes and waffles with butter and syrup and add a small bowl of this brittle as an optional, delicious, crunchy topping. It's also fabulous on oatmeal, yogurt and ice cream.
A wonderful gift!
And it makes a delightful, unique gift! I dropped off a little box of this Sea-Salted Quinoa Pecan Brittle to a friend of mine. I just popped it in her mailbox and sent her a text. This is what she responded:
"You can quit the blog and start making these full time! I love the thin wafer-like quality. Thank you for this serendipitous treat!"
Because it makes a fun gift, we're sharing some gift labels to make your bags, boxes and/or containers look especially attractive. If you'd like to receive the free printable labels in your email, just scroll to the bottom of this post leave us a comment in the comment area. We'll send the PDFs (two different sizes) for the labels right to your inbox along with instructions on how to use them and links for the boxes and ribbon shown in the pictures.
If you've got about 15 minutes (hands-on time), you can put together a batch of this Quinoa Pecan Brittle. Honestly, you won't believe how delicious this is until you take the first shatteringly thin, crisp bite. Just a little word of warning though, it is one of those treats that will be requested again and again. No one will believe (or has to know) how easy it is!
Café Tips for making this Sea-Salted Quinoa Pecan Brittle
- It's important to finely chop the pecans. If you don't you will have a pan full of delicious, crunchy nuts but NOT a brittle. You don't want nut powder but you do want the nuts finely chopped. If I'm in a hurry (and don't feel like chopping nuts) to make this Quinoa Pecan Brittle, I buy the pecans at my local grocery store that are labeled "Pecan Chips" (Fisher). Diamond brand calls them "Finely Chopped Pecans".
- Use whatever type of quinoa you have. I use Trader Joe's tri-colored quinoa but the plain white, a combination, black or red is fine.
- I like to rinse my quinoa before using for this brittle recipe. Quinoa has a natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. I tried this recipe both ways, rinsing the quinoa and also using it as is. I didn't notice a big difference, so it's up to you. If you do decide to rinse it, be sure to drain it very well (as instructed in the recipe) before proceeding.
- Since quinoa is such a tiny grain, you'll need a fine-mesh strainer to drain it. Fine-mesh strainers aren't expensive but are super useful for lots of recipes. I really like this set with three different sizes.
- Be sure to line your sheet pan with foil and spray it well with nonstick cooking spray or use a paper towel to oil the surface.
- When you first take the brittle out of the oven, it will not seem at all like "brittle". If you try to remove it from the pan, it will fall apart. Don't worry! Just let it completely cool and it will harden and become nice and crisp.
- If you don't have pecans or prefer a different nut or seed, that will work too! Just use an equal amount and make sure the nuts are finely chopped.
- You could also use all maple syrup or all honey for this recipe instead of a quarter cup of each. We like the flavor profile with the combination of honey and maple syrup but either way, it will be delicious!
- Don't skip the flaky sea salt! It adds a nice gourmet touch to this Quinoa Pecan Brittle. I really like Maldon Flaky Sea Salt that's harvested on the coast of England, about 50 miles north of London. It's more pricey than regular salt or kosher salt but it's not the kind of salt you would use every day. Rather, it's a "finishing salt" which means you use it to add a delicious touch to soups, salads, desserts... you name it. Maldon has large, coarse flakes and is acclaimed by chefs for adding crunch and adapting to the flavor of whatever it garnishes. To use it, take a pinch and rub it between you fingers to break it up a bit. You'll be shocked at the wonderful, "finishing" flavor it adds.
Thought for the day:
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:14
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This fabulous Sea-Salted Quinoa Pecan Brittle is wonderful as a snack, dessert, with yogurt and fruit, crumbled on ice cream, salads or oatmeal. It's shatteringly crisp, uniquely delicious and only takes MINUTES of hands-on time!
- ¼ cup quinoa I used Trader Joe's tri-colored quinoa, but any color will work
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons butter (I use salted butter)
- 3 tablespoon brown sugar (I use dark brown sugar but light works fine as well)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil Coconut oil adds a really nice flavor but I've also used peanut oil and olive oil with good success
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans It's important that they're very finely chopped , If I'm in a hurry, I buy the prechopped pecans called "pecan chips"
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds black or white
- flaky sea salt I like Maldon.
Preheat oven to 325˚F and line a half sheet pan (13x18-inches) with foil. Extend the foil over the edges of the pan so it’s completely covered. Spray the foil lined pan generously with non stick cooking spraying and rub with a small paper towel to ensure that it’s well coated. Set aside.
Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse for 1 minute under cold water. Drain well then set the strainer on several thicknesses of paper towels to absorb any excess water while you prep the other ingredients.
Combine the maple syrup, honey, butter, brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and kosher salt in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high power for 1-2 minutes until the butter and coconut oil are completely melted. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
Add the pecans, drained quinoa and sesame seeds and stir to combine. Turn the mixture out onto the prepared pan and pat out to a thin, even layer. You can use an angled spatula or the back of a spoon. The mixture should cover most of the pan but don’t worry if it doesn’t get completely to the edges. It will spread out a bit more in the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes then turn the pan to the opposite side for even browning. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until a deep golden color all over. Watch it carefully towards the end so that it doesn’t burn.
Remove from the oven. Take a generous pinch of the flaky sea salt with your fingers and rub them together to break up the larger flakes, sprinkling the salt evenly over the surface of the brittle.
Allow the brittle to cool completely in the pan. Once cool, break into pieces with your hands. Store in an airtight container.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
It’s important to finely chop the pecans. If you don't you will have a pan full of delicious, crunchy nuts but NOT a brittle. You don't want a nut powder but you do want the nuts finely chopped. If I'm in a hurry to make this Quinoa Pecan Brittle, I buy the pecans at my local grocery store that are labeled "Pecan Chips".
Don’t worry, when you remove the brittle from the oven it will be very loose. It will crisp up and solidify as it cools.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.