Honey caramelized brittle, or ‘Gozinaki’ as it is called in Georgia, is a simple treat that is found in many countries. The recipes may vary from country to country, however, this simple candy goes back many years. The combination of honey with seeds or nuts, made for a perfect energy bar that could last for some time without going bad and served the people of the past well for long journeys. This treat can be found as a traditional sweet in many different regions, however, in this recipe, I will be using the traditional Georgian recipe for Gozinaki. In Georgia, Gozinaki is a treat that is prepared and served during New Year’s Eve and the Orthodox Christmas.
500g unshelled sunflower seeds (or nuts and seeds of your choice)
1 tablespoon white sugar
- Roast unshelled sunflower seeds
- Set aside roasted sunflower seeds to cool
- Combine honey and sugar on medium/high heat (approximately 2 minutes) until sugar is fully dissolved and mixture is brought to boil (bubbles are formed)
- Set mixture aside to cool
- When fully cooled, heat up the mixture and bring to boil
- Repeat step 4 and 5
- Add the roasted sunflower seeds to the mixture that is still on the medium/high heat
- Mix and combine seeds with mixture well
- Once combined, leave on heat for 1 minute
- Wet a wooden chopping board with cold water
- Place hot caramelized seeds onto wet chopping board
- Distribute the caramelized seeds equally on board whilst the seeds are still hot, using a little water to avoid seeds for sticking to utensils
- Let the caramelized seeds to cool
- When the surface of the caramelized seeds are warm, cut into pieces
- Allow the pieces to cool
- Serve or place into container
Tips for honey caramelized brittle ‘Gozinaki’ recipe with sunflower seeds
You can use any seeds and nuts of your choice, even a combination. If using nuts, for larger nuts, they are usually chopped into smaller pieces. Just keep to the same 500g measurements and roast the seeds and/or nuts that are being used.
It is best to roast the sunflower seeds on medium heat to avoid burning them or having them under-cooked. It takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
You will notice when they are ready as they turn golden and give off a shine.
Place honey in a saucepan and sprinkle the white sugar on top. Switch on medium/high heat, and allow the honey and sugar to begin combining, you will notice the center bubbling. Once bubbling begins, constantly mix until fully combined.
To check the progress of the sugar dissolving, lift the spoon you are mixing the honey and sugar with. If you see sugar granules on it, keep mixing. It takes approximately 2 minutes on medium/high heat until all sugar is dissolved.
When the sugar is dissolved, you will notice the texture becoming more liquid rather than thick. Lift the spoon to check with there are any sugar granules on it.
Triple cooling and boiling of the mixture
You will notice when the mixture is brought to boil, once the surface is covered with bubbles.
When the mixture has cooled after being brought to boil the first time, you will notice the mixture is thick; similar to honey. There is also a very thin sugar layer found on top of the mixture.
Heating the mixture for the second time, you will notice the mixture becomes a dark shade when it is brought to a boil.
When the mixture has cooled off for the second time, prior to the third boil, you will notice the mixture is now even thicker. After the third heating, you will notice the shade even darker.
Place the sunflower seeds in the center of the pan and mix from the outer sides moving inwards. This will allow all the seeds to be combined with the mixture thoroughly.
Shaping the hot caramelized mixture
When shaping the caramelized seeds on the wet chopping board, dip utensils into the water to avoid the seeds sticking to them. Make sure not to use too much water.
In my experience, the best utensils to use are; a silicone spatula or a bread scraper. Otherwise, you can use non-stick baking paper in the very beginning to quickly distribute the caramelized seeds across the board. You can place the baking paper on top of the fresh caramelized seeds and use a rolling pin to quickly move the hot seeds across the board, remove the baking paper, and continue with a spatula. When seeds cool off, you can wet your hands and pat areas to equal out the surface.
If you use a bread scraper, you can easily distribute and shape the caramelized seeds by moving the mixture and tap it gently on the top for even thickness.
Keep in mind that it cools off quickly, so moving fast is crucial.
Shape the honey caramelized seeds to have a uniform thickness so they will cool off equally. I choose a medium height of 1 cm. The thinner the caramelized seeds, the crunchier the outcome. The thicker the caramelized seeds, the inner layer is chewier.
When the individual pieces have cooled off, place them in a box. Humidity can make them turn soft and evenly stick to one another.
If you have any tips or recipes on honey caramelized seeds and nuts you would like to share, feel free to share your recommendations in the comment section.