Cranberry walnut brittle – the delicious & nutritious in one sweet bite

I have never been much of a candy maker but I love the look of shiny brittle so figured that it’s worth making once a year.

And as far as homemade gifts go it’s pretty spectacular. Glossy and filled to the brim with good stuff, Cranberry Walnut Brittle lets you have the delicious and the nutritious in one sweet bite. Feel free to mix in your favourite nuts and seeds.

I found the original recipe on the food blog Adventures in Cooking. They made it with honey, which I’m sure is delicious too but there is something about molasses that smells and tasts of holiday celebrations and special times spent with family and friends.

Holiday Brittle (Cranberry walnut brittle)

Adapted from

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  1. In a large pot combine the sugars, molasses, water and salt.
  2. Bring to a gentle boil over low to medium heat, stirring from time to time.
  3. Using a candy thermometer heat the mixture to 302 F. (On my stove this took close to an hour).
  4. While the sugar mixture is boiling, place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking pan.
  5. Lightly grease the parchment paper.
  6. When the sugar mixture reaches 286 F, quickly remove from heat, stir in the butter and nuts and turn out onto the prepared pan.
  7. Use a rubber spatula to spread as thinly, and evenly as possible. The mixture will start to seize up immediately so you’ll have to work fast!
  8. Cool and break into pieces.

For more Holiday gift ideas check out our Holiday Book, a free e-book full of our favourite Holiday recieps.

This candy is chock full of good stuff!

Five-spice candied nuts – quick to prepare and delicious

Less than a week ’til Christmas. “Homemade gifts in under 20 minutes” sounds good to me…

I’m a sucker for spiced nuts. Ever since my sister started making these years ago I have been eating more than my fair share over the holidays.

They’re sweet, a little spicy and crispy with a light candy coating. They don’t stick in your teeth.

I make them to give as gifts but always make extra so there are left overs for use to nibble. They’re a practical snack to have around the house, store well and have a whiff of healthiness about them.

Better yet, they take almost no time to prepare.

Find this recipe and more in our little Holiday e-book.

Here’s a tip: If Chinese Five Spice powder isn’t your thing try chili powder or your favourite spice blend. And mix up the nuts too. Sometimes I make these just with almonds, or walnuts and sometimes I mix the two and throw in a few pecans.

Five-spice candied nuts

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups mixed nuts (raw)
  1. In a large saucepan or wok, melt butter.
  2. Add sugar, molasses, water, salt and spices. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add nuts to the mixture and cook until syrup thickly coats nuts, stirring frequently (5 minutes or so).
  4. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 F until nuts are lightly toasted and a little crisp (10-15 minutes).

Test while baking to ensure you don’t overcook the nuts and the syrup doesn’t burn.

Nuts about nuts? Try Gingerbread spiced almonds.

What are your favourite homemade gifts to give (or receive)?

Gingerbread spiced almonds – a quick hostess gift

Whenever I see cans or jars of roasted nuts I think of my dad. He loved to nibble salty peanuts and cashews along with a drink before supper so as kids that’s what we’d often buy him for his birthday and for Christmas.

His birthday was December 21st so by the time Christmas arrived the house was usually full of nuts (so to speak). Sometimes he’d hide the special tins in his armoire (along with his fudge) but more often than not there would be a bowlful of mixed nuts on the table before supper.

I always liked the almonds best and used to pick them out of the bowls of mixed nuts. That`s why I use almonds in this recipe rather than the pecans originally called for. I also amped up the spices since I like more than a hint of that gingerbread taste. (The original recipe came off the LCBO Food & Drink website.)

I sometimes make these to give as gifts, or to bring as a hostess gift when we`re invited out to eat. If you`re having friends over these are a speedy (and delicious) nibble with drinks before supper.

Gingerbread spiced almonds

Gingerbread spiced almonds

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • Pinch cayenne or a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 2 cups raw almonds (or your favourite nut)
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt the butter with molasses, sugar, spices and salt.
  2. Stir to combine and continue to stir until sugar has dissolved.
  3. When mixture starts to bubble add nuts and stir until well coated.
  4. Turn nuts onto a parchment lined baking sheet, spread in a single layer, and bake at 300 until nuts are nicely toasted, about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir from time to time while baking and begin testing after 15 minutes or so (you don’t want the nuts to get too brown).
  6. Cool and break into pieces.
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


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