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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pointy Bits of Peanut Brittle

Yep, another candy (can you tell I'm running out of freezer space for cookies?)! This is so easy to make and give (as always, there is a danger of burns, but if you are careful it really shouldn't be an issue). Once the Peanut Brittle hardens, you just have to break it into shards and wrap it up however you like. I sometimes like to make little bundles of the stuff wrapped in colored cellophane or even colored food film tied up tight with curly ribbons. It's really quite festive. I've also found that this makes a nice garnish for some desserts. Pumpkin Cheesecake or Peanut Silk Pie with shards of Peanut Brittle sticking out of them like daggars makes for an interesting and artistic presentation (not to mention tasty).

Peanut Brittle is a favorite of mine to make because it goes through a magical transformation when you are making it. Up until the point where you add the baking soda, it is just a hard caramel....Once you add the baking soda, you get a reaction, the baking soda fizzles (for lack of a better word) and makes this candy it's namesake, that is to say, brittle and easier to break apart and eat than a hard caramel would be. I still remember making this in High School Chemistry with brand new beakers and bunsen burners....ahhh, good times...

Peanut Brittle: (you should get about 1 1/2 pounds of candy)

1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda (it's magic, I tell you...magic)
2 cups nuts,unsalted, roasted (I'm using peanuts, but I have made this with macadamias or pecans before, and all I can say is "yum". To roast them, set oven to 350f, spread the nuts on a sheet pan and roast about 6 to 10 minutes or until you smell the nice scent of roasted nuts)

-In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring water, sugar and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat. Brush the sides of the pan down with water and cook to 250f.
-Once the mixture reaches 250f, slowly and carefully (hot sugar, ouch) add the butter. Continue cooking to 300f. Remove from heat, stir in salt, baking soda and nuts. Pour out and spread onto a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil (or parchement paper) that has been spread with butter.
-Cool completely and break into whatever size pieces you like. Makes nice shards, they are pretty!
-Share and enjoy!

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Claire said...

I get nervous making peanut brittle because everything has to happen just right and so quickly! My grandmother make sthe best! This looks like it came out perfectly.

Jen the bread freak said...

Hi Claire! I understand when you say you get a bit nervous making this. Once the top temp is hit, you have to get the peanuts in and get it all dumped out before it sets up too much in the pan. I forgot that I shouldn't have too many other things going on when making peanut brittle. I had some laundry in today while this was bubbling and had to resist going to check on the laundry at crucial brittle moments! Thank you for the compliment, happily it did turn out wonderfully for me :D

Ira.B said...

if you cook the brittle beyond 300 degrees (but less than 328 or so) the brittle will carmelize and this adds a nice, smoky flavor to the candy. It also gives you some extra time to add peanuts, pour into jelly roll, etc. before the whole thing congeals into a tasty rock in your pot.


Jen the bread freak said...

Ira B. : Thank you for the tip! I may try that next time I make peanut brittle. I do find that I like the amount of caramelization I get at 300 , but I would certainly like to give it a try at the higher temp. :)

revmum said...

I just made a batch of this peanut brittle and it turned out perfectly. This is the first time I made it-a little strange with all the fudge, caramel, and penuche I have tackled in my lifetime. It is not too sweet and a beautiful color. Some lucky folks in the NW corner of CT will have a nice Christmas treat. Barmy's Mum

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Thanks, Mommy. You do make the best fudge and caramel. I'm happy this turned out so well and was so easy for you! Love ya!

Cris said...

I love peanut brittle, last year we made one recipe after another when we were on vacation at my in-laws farm. I have never tried with anything but peanuts!