Lonavla. That tiny spot on Maharashtra’s map that looks like a piece of broken chikki. The entire town is perennially wafting with the aroma of caramelizing sugar or jaggery. Chikki, the desi version of Brittle comes in many avatars—the most popular being the peanut chikki (ground peanuts and whole) and the cashewnut chikki. And then there are those that make your job in choosing difficult—sesame seed chikki, puffed rice chikki, roasted Bengal gram chikki, mixed nut chikki, coconut chikki, stuff-you-never-thought-of-chikki—the list is endless. Some are made in caramelized sugar and liquid glucose while some are made, more traditionally, in caramelized jaggery. I like them both—they have distinctive flavors and differing depths, and they complement the nut they carry with surprising but delightful differences.
I love chikkis because they’re all good sources of instant energy—ideal for a non-chocolate person like me. Packed with the goodness of nuts, they make for an excellent on-the-go snack. This festive season, you might want to make this easy sweet and gift a box of healthy warmth to friends and family. It gets done in minutes, and looks gorgeously warm, don’t you think?
Here’s my simple recipe for Mixed Nut Chikki (Brittle)
- 1 and ½ cups cashews, halved
- 1 and ½ cups almonds
- 1 and ½ cups pistachios
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 heaped tbsp. liquid glucose
- 1 tsp. ghee
- ½ tsp. green cardamom powder (optional)
- A pinch of saffron (optional)
- Cornstarch for dusting
- Place all the nuts in a pan and toast them lightly over medium heat. Cool and chop very roughly just to release their flavors.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Grease it lightly and dust with cornstarch.
- Place the sugar in a thick-bottomed pot or wok and melt on a low flame. One the sugar turns a light amber, quickly add the liquid glucose, ghee, cardamom, and saffron in quick succession.
- Add the nuts and switch off the heat.
- Turn the nuts in the pot so they’re well-coated.
- Transfer immediately to the parchment and flatten with the help of a greased spatula/rolling pin or other instrument of choice.
- If you like perfect squares, make cuts on your chikki sheet while it is still warm. This will make the breaking easier when it cools. I like my chikki rustic and broken randomly, so I skip this step.
- Allow to cool completely (about 15 to 20 mins.)
- Break into desired sizes and store in an air-tight jar, away from heat and humidity.