Peanut brittle is a ‘fancy’ candy I remember from my childhood but I don’t see it around much anymore. Occasionally I will make peanut brittle for friends (and us) to enjoy. I think candy can be something that’s very daunting to try and make at home but as long as you have a candy thermometer (mine looks like this) and your house isn’t humid, this peanut brittle will turn out. I have never had this recipe fail.
I looked high and low for this exact recipe to link to but can’t find it. It’s from the Good Housekeeping cookbook that I received in 1997 for my (first) bridal shower.
Carve out about an hour to make this, 5 minutes a few hours later to break it up and store it, and about 10 minutes of scrubbing the pot clean of hardened-on candy. Most of the time it’s only a “stir occasionally” recipe so you should be able to surf the web/read a book while you cook it. After you add the nuts you’ll need to pay closer attention so you can take it off of the stove right at 295F.
2 cookie sheets
a candy thermometer
2 silicone spatulas, if you don’t have these, forks will also work, just futzier.
2 cups sugar
1 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups raw peanuts (I use dry roasted lightly salted peanuts)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda (have this measured and ready before you begin, because at 295 degrees you need to be ready to add this)
Butter 2 large cookie sheets. Butter the sides of a large pot. I use a stockpot. In the pot, combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and 1/2 cup water. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until boiling. (I have an induction stove, I put the burner on 7)
Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, reduce heat to medium-low (for my induction stove, that’s 4), continue boiling, stirring occasionally until the thermometer hits 275F*.
Stir in the nuts, keep on cooking, stirring a little more frequently now so the nuts don’t burn. The temperature will disappointingly drop 15 or so degrees when you add the nuts. When it hits 295F**, take out the thermometer, shut off the heat, remove the pot from the heat and onto a trivet.
Immediately stir in the baking soda and your mixture will get foamy and puffy and change color. This is good and looks really neat to boot. Stir, stir, stir, then pour the mixture onto the 2 cookie sheets. Use the business ends of the spatulas kind of like tongs, one below the goop, one on top. Stretch the brittle out slowly and gently. This makes it thinner and crunchier. It will look like peanut brittle and smell amazing.
Cool the candy on the cookie sheets for an hour or two. Break it up into pieces. The backside of the candy might be greasy from the butter. If that skeeves you, wipe it off. I’m never skeeved by butter.
And you have now made candy.
Cleaning up sticky sugar goop from a pot is not fun. You could wait for it to cool and harden and crack the goop off before washing the pot. Or you could be lazy like me. I put the pot in the sink, fill it up with hot water and dish soap, put the candy thermometer and all of your utensils in the pot and leave it overnight. Sugar mostly dissolves in water. That will soften everything up and you can clean as you normally would.
This’ll make 2 1/4 lb of candy, enough to give away to a friend and keep some for yourself.
*This is what’s referred to as soft-crack stage meaning if you put some of the goop into a glass of water to cool, take it out, pull it and bend it, it would form soft threads that bend and then break. This is just for your knowledge, I do not do this. I just look at the candy thermometer.
**This is hard-crack stage. If you put the goop into a glass of water to cool, take it out, pull it and bend it, it would pull into hard threads and immediately break when you bend it. It’s shattery and dare I say … brittle? But still, I do not do this. Just look at the thermometer.
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