Peanut Brittle…

Christmas is upon us and holiday treats are everywhere.  Every year, we make a plethora of goodies to give out.  This year, we’re cutting back due to the costs of grad school and the absence of a job.  However, my efforts will not be defeated.  I’m making peanut brittle to give out while my sister makes peppermint bark.  Peanut brittle is a classic American treat.  However, evidence suggests that like pralines, it was made long before American times.  Although most recipes come from American cookbooks at the turn of the 19th century.  Whatever, it’s delicious.

When making candy, it’s important to stay at the stove, despite what temperature it is at.  When heating the sugar, the temperature rises very quickly to 200, slows a bit (which may trick you into thinking it’ll take a long time), then shoots up to 350.  Just play it safe and get comfy in the kitchen.

Don’t be afraid, this is what it’ll look like when you add the butter and baking soda.  I do suggest using a spatula which is heat proof.  I bought my Pyrex spatula long ago and I thought it was heat proof.  Turns out I was wrong.  Now it’s an angled spatula as it started to melt.  But it’s OK because I switched to a real heat proof spatula.

At this point you want it to cool completely.  Don’t spill any candy on the ground or this little devil will get it

He’s always scavenging food off the ground.  Don’t fall for the “what are you looking at me for?” look.

Baking soda is important in brittle because it makes the candy,well…brittle.  If you leave it out, you have hard caramel, which will take out two teeth before you crack it.  This proportion of soda to candy is good because it breaks easily enough to make it comfortable to eat, but not too fragile.  Feel free to experiment with your own amounts to make it more or less brittle.

I highly recommend Silpats.  If you don’t have that, you can use parchment paper or some other nonstick surface.  The Silpat peels right off so it’s very easy to use.  Make sure it’s completely cool before you crack it and package it (or just eat it).

Our brittle and peppermint bark.

Peanut Brittle

2 c peanuts, unsalted roasted (if salted, omit salt below)
2 c sugar
1 c corn syrup
1/2 t salt
1/2 c water
4 T softened butter
2 t baking soda

Grease a sheet (or use a Silpat) and set in a warmed oven to warm up.  This will make spreading the candy easier.

Over medium heat in a saucepan, bring sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water to a boil.  Stir until dissolved.  Using a candy thermometer, keep it boiling up to 250 F.  Stir it nuts and mix well.  At 300 F, remove from heat and stir in butter and baking soda.

Pour onto your sheet and spread quickly before it hardens too fast.

*next up… Teriyaki Meatballs…*

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