Maple-Spice Cashew Brittle

I posted a picture of this unique and so, very delicious cashew brittle on Instagram the other week and promised to share the recipe. So here I am fulfilling my duty to all of you (love ya, yes I sure do).

Granted, this brittle is a little bit on the wild side of brittles. But if you are looking for a different, gourmet version of a classic, try this. The maple flavoring is awesome with the sweet brittle. Awesome. (PS: my favorite maple extract is from King Arthur Flour; I love it because it’s the real deal plus a little goes a long way, but you could use other types of maple extract for the recipe, too).

And I love how the cashews change regular old brittle into something a little swanky and upscale. The spice? Loooove. It’s not necessarily spicy. It’s just this gentle breeze of heat that kind of nudges you after you take a bite. And it is magical. The real treat is that this is a microwave version (just like my classic peanut brittle) so not only can you leave the candy thermometer in the drawer, but you’ll have this delicious cashew brittle whipped up in about 15 minutes start to finish.

Maple-Spice Cashew Brittle

Maple-Spice Cashew Brittle

I used roasted, salted cashews but you could also use raw, unsalted cashews (you may want to up the salt in the recipe just slightly). Also, I tested this recipe in a 1,000 watt microwave. If your microwave has more/less watts, you'll need to adjust the time accordingly.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup chopped cashews (see note above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste if you want it spicier
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring or extract


  1. Grease a large, rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray really well. Set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe medium glass bowl, combine the sugar and corn syrup. Microwave uncovered for 3 minutes. Remove carefully from the microwave and give it a good stir. Microwave again for another 4 minutes.
  3. Remove carefully and stir in the cashews, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and butter. Microwave for 3-4 more minutes, watching carefully, until the mixture turns light amber in color but not so long that the cashews are burned. It will be very hot, so be careful removing it from the microwave. Quickly stir in the baking soda and maple flavoring; the mixture will foam a bit so don't be alarmed.
  4. Immediately spread the mixture out on the prepared pan. Cool completely.
  5. Break brittle in pieces. It can be stored well-covered at room temperature for several days.

Recipe Source: adapted from Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Dec/Jan 2014

24 Responses to Maple-Spice Cashew Brittle {Super Easy Microwave Version}

  1. Karen says:

    Hey Mel! I couldn’t find maple flavoring. Wondering if you had any thoughts on me trying 100% maple syrup in place of the corn sryup?

  2. Jean Cooney says:

    Mel, Can you use vanilla extract in this recipe if you do not have the maple on hand?

  3. Thanks for this awesome recipe Mel. I could almost taste the contrasting flavors with this easy microwave recipe.

  4. Louise E. says:

    I meant to tell you sooner… but I made this recipe before Christmas to give as small gifts, and it turned out great for me. I was nervous since I have never made brittle in a microwave before, just on a stovetop with a candy thermometer. But it worked out perfect for me.

  5. Karla says:

    i have tried to make this two different times and it has been a fail each time. I am using organic fair trade sugar, do you think that makes a difference? I am not sure what is happening here, but it definitely doesnt work for me. That is the only substitution.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Karla – if your organic sugar is like the kind I have in my pantry it’s slightly darker and coarser than white, granulated sugar and although I haven’t tried it in this recipe, I can see that it might come out differently just based on the texture but I’m not completely sure. Sorry it hasn’t worked for you!

  6. Tami says:

    This brittle tastes divine and I hope to make it so many more times. This firms up so quickly I was unclear how thin I was supposed to spread it on the pan. Any advice?

  7. Liz says:

    Last weekend I bought everything to make the peanut brittle and I do have everything to make this…and as a lover of cayenne and maple and cashews…YOWZA… but I conveniently forgot that THIS weekend I would have a temporary crown on a molar and I’m thinking I do not want to risk forgetting and chewing on the wrong side…SO have saved this off and it will be an early January treat/reward after I have the permanent crown…getting old(er) is tough 🙂 !

  8. In the microwave?! Holy awesome! This sounds lovely.

  9. I love the sweet and spicy combo in this, and it sounds so fast and easy too! Yay for quick and easy candy with no candy thermometer!

  10. Oh my this has got to be hard to resist. Cashews—-that is classy brittle. And it really is super easy. Great!

  11. Jeri Goffin says:

    Have you posted your silhouette winner?

  12. Beverly says:

    This looks pretty darn good, and would make nice gifts, but how were brittles made pre-1970’s, before HFCS? (I can’t use the stuff.)

  13. I love all kinds of brittle. It’s great that this one is so easy! Now I just need to get some maple flavoring…

  14. Linda Pilkington says:

    My husband loves brittle and cashews. I think I will be making this for him this weekend. Thanks Mel

  15. Cammee says:

    I’m intrigued! Can’t wait to give this a try.

  16. Sheila says:

    Yes! No candy thermometer! This sounds so easy. The flavorings and ingredients are interesting too — cinnamon, cayenne, cashews and maple extract. Thank you for the tip on King Arthur’s maple flavoring. And for another unique “out -of-the-box” recipe to create for our friends and family. You rock, Mel!

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