Peanut Brittle – Quick and easy recipe
Okay gang, it’s time for a little break from the political stuff and as regular readers know, that means another recipe. Since we’re in the midst of a really weird April snowstorm, it seems like a good time to warm up the kitchen with a little something that many people might make during the holidays, but there is no particular reason that peanut brittle needs to be limited to that season.
First, let me tell you that it really helps to think about cleanup before you ever get started. Molten sugar hardens to a lava-like consistency and so it’s really important to choose your weapons with this in mind. I use a Circulon anodized non-stick 2-quart saucepan for the preparation and a silicone spatula for stirring. Be careful when you set things down on or you will be trying to figure how to undo something on the order of Superglue.
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup peanuts* (If you like more, not more than a half cup extra. I use Planters extra large Virginia peanuts.)
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Grease a large cookie sheet and set aside. (This is important because you won’t have time to get it ready when the time comes and timing is critical!
- In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place and continue cooking. Stir frequently – and I would say almost constantly — until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.
3. Remove from heat; IMMEDIATELY stir in butter and baking soda; pour IMMEDIATELY onto cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14×12 inches; cool. Snap candy into pieces.
It’s all in the finish! Be sure to have everything in position and MOVE VERY QUICKLY once you stir in the butter and the baking soda. This is what magically changes the color, consistency and flavor into an awesome mix with the correct properties of an extremely fine, uniformly hardened froth after cooling.
I also have to tell you that on that last part, I find the “two-fork” technique pretty lame. I smooth it out as best I can with my spatula, but remember that you only have about 30 seconds to fool around with it because it will begin to cool. You’ll end up with a rough finish if you don’t quit messing with it while it is still hot enough to settle out smooth. Don’t sweat it if you can’t bring it out into a perfect rectangle that completely fills your 14×12 baking sheet — (I’ve never done it.) The main thing is to get it to an even thickness that you like. I shoot for around a quarter of an inch.