I don’t always bake. I am a true lover of sweets though and this time of year, there’s just so many other good things to be made. I have never made peanut brittle before, but I decided to give it a try. It’s delightfully crunchy, sweet, salty and sticky. It’s basically the perfect holiday treat!
I invested in the biggest bottle of Corn Syrup I could find at the store and bought a lot of sugar. When I do something, it’s kind of go big or go home. Last year I made peppermint bark and cake truffles… and I mean… I made TONS of it. My husband was probably SO sick of eating the stuff. I had truffles lined up on parchment paper filling the fridge. What can I say, I just get on these kicks…
Anyhow, So I used this simple recipe:
1 cup corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tblspn baking soda
1 tblspn butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup peanuts
Bring corn syrup, sugar, salt, water and peanuts to a boil with a candy thermometer, stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture up to hard crack (290-300), stirring more at the end, you don’t want the peanuts to burn. It should be turning a golden color.
Remove from heat. Add vanilla, butter and baking soda. Stir it up until mixed. It should double in size.
Pour onto two greased baking pans.
I kind of lean them back and forth to spread it out. Once the edges cool, I hand pull it so that it gets thin. It’s something you figure out how to best do after a while. You’re supposed to wear rubber gloves. I just get burnt. It happens…
(There are MANY variations how to make peanut brittle. Some involve different ingredients or methods. This is simply the one I’ve chosen to use. It’s simple and works well for me… MOST of the time…)
However, twice now I’ve made a batch and had it come out… well… a gross yellow color. And it doesn’t even taste good. It’s too tacky in your teeth. Evidently, I didn’t cook it long enough, even though the thermometer read 300!
So what could I do? The first time I tossed the offending batch. Heartbreaking, I know.
This time I was determined to fix this some how. I googed how to fix it. I literally found ONE site where someone had microwaved it and then reheated it on the stove. They still weren’t totally successful though because they burnt the peanuts. Well, hell… I can do this I decided. I will make it happen.
I considered my options and decided to just smash it and put it back in the pot. I split it into two batches so I could have more room to sir in the pot. I thought of adding more liquid, but decided not to. I started on medium heat, but turned it down to a bit below medium. KEEP STIRRING.
While it’s still semi solid you MUST keep stirring or it WILL burn.
I thought it was never going to turn into a liquid, but of course it did. I gradually turned it up as it melted more. But kept stirring occasionally to keep the peanuts from burning on the bottom.
You haaave to let it come back up to hardcrack stage. If you don’t it’s not going to set right. I wanted to just stop and pour like 400 times because it looked and smelled ready, but I knew I just couldn’t. I stirred like crazy to keep it moving and not let it burn. As soon as it reached 300, I poured it.
Guess what? It was excellent! As if I’d never messed it up to begin with! I was so happy I wasn’t going to waste another 2lbs of brittle!
It’s the perfect handmade gift! You could make and bag enough for probably 10 people for under $10 and it’s such a thoughtful gift.
(And yes… my fingers hurt intensely after hand-drawing all of those tags… Ohhhh the pain I put myself through for those I love!)
I hope this helps anyone who was as lost as I was! Happy Holidays and happy treat making!
Most of all have fun and be careful! I have sustained a few burns from my brittle making adventures this year! Mostly from hot sugar bubbling and spitting out of the pan! I’m starting to think candy makers probably wear long sleeves. Ouch. I have burn blisters on two of my favorite tattoos right now and that’s a bummer!
Anyhow, I cannot waaait for Christmas! I have everything all wrapped up and ready to go! So come on and get here already! I’m super pumped to make peppermint cupcakes… and that means a lot coming from me! Everyone knows I am not a huge fan of making cupcakes!