I am generally not a big candy person, but lately I have been experimenting with a lot of nut-free brittles – it’s an easy treat that keeps well, is vegan, and is naturally gluten-free. The inclusion of dried hibiscus flowers to this latest batch of brittle was particularly inspiring, not only does it visually impart a delicate romanticism with it subtle pinkish-purple coloring and strewn petals, but the hibiscus’ tropical tang carries through nicely creating an addictive treat that’s tangy, sweet, slightly floral, and can briefly sweep you away to that tropical dream paradise you’ve been fantasizing about all Winter long.
If your unfamiliar with or hesitant about eating hibiscus flowers one of the easiest ways to familiarize yourself with their flavor is through their use in tea. The primary flavors in both Celestial Seasonings’ Red Zinger and Tazo Tea’s Passion are hibiscus flowers. These are also excellent teas for ice tea. If you have spent much time in Central America you might have run across hibiscus in the form of Rosa de Jamaica, a popular drink. These days, with the virtual global economy being what it is, it is easy to purchase dried hibiscus flowers online, and they can be found for relatively cheap especially when compared to other dried flowers and spices.
I used glucose syrup to maintain that clear translucent quality in my brittle, but if you don’t have any on hand and don’t want to bother with special ordering it, you can use 1/2 a cup of corn syrup instead. It won’t effect the taste of your brittle, but your syrup will take on that yellowish caramelized glow instead of that pinkish-purple tinge.
- 1 1/2 cup (302 g/10.7 oz) Sugar
- 1/4 cup (88 g/3 oz) Glucose Syrup
- 1/4 cup dried Hibiscus Flowers
- Heat up the glucose syrup.
- Gradually, stir the sugar into the glucose, melting it as you go. The glucose syrup should prevent re-crystilization.
- Cook the sugar until it reaches 300 F (149 C) or the hard crack phase.
- Remove from the heat, and quickly stir in the dried hibiscus flowers.
- Pour the syrup out onto a heat resistant, non-stick mat (splat).
- Let it cool.