Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Peanut Brittle

I have always loved peanut brittle since childhood when my grandmother would make large batches of it in an iron fryin' pan. But, it wasn't until tonight that I finally decided to try my hand at this age old recipe.
I dug through loads of cookbooks I've collected over the years (grandmother never told me the recipe... I was the taster) and selected two which seemed to be doable. I wanted it to be simple and use ingredients that I already had on hand. Well... I did have to make a quick trip to the grocery to purchase a bag of raw peanuts.
For some reason, I wasn't satisfied with the two recipes I'd found so I made a last ditch effort to locate an easier recipe on the internet. The first site contained about 10 recipes but none of them caught my eye. Ingredients were similar but the one which had a 5-star rating also had "difficult" beside it.
Just when I was about to give up for the night, I came across this recipe - simple, tested and rated with 5 stars and with a name like Mama's best peanut brittle I thought, "How can I go wrong!" It is absolutely wonderful and for that reason I decided to share it with my fellow bloggers and friends.
First, a word of caution... assemble ALL the ingredients and have them handy because once the sugar begins to reach the proper temperature you'll have to move at light speed so you won't burn the peanuts and sugar and before it begins to solidify.
First, lightly spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
Next, into a large sauce pan, (I used an aluminum frying pan) put :
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Don't turn on the heat yet.
Next, I measured (into little plastic containers but use what you've got):
1/2 cup of light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
Then, I set aside:
2 tablespoons softened butter ( I just cut the stick on the 2 Tblsp line and set it aside)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup of raw peanuts ( I'd shelled them the night before and, let me tell you... DON'T buy them in the shell if you can avoid it because the skins stick to raw peanuts and you have to scrape them off! What was I thinking???? It took me two hours to prepare 2 cups.. I'm saving one cup for another batch with coconut added)
O.K. here's the easy part:
You've got your sugar and salt on the stove in the pan . Turn the heat to medium/high and pour in the water and corn syrup. Begin stirring until the sugar is dissolved and not grainy. Oh, about 4 or 5 minutes.
Add the peanuts
Stir, stir, stir
NOW, if you have a candy thermometer, you let the syrup mixture reach 300 degrees. BUT, if you're like me and you DON'T have a candy thermometer here's what you'll have to do.
Watch the sugar mixture carefully. It will begin to turn a light tan and then gradually begin to thicken, bubbling the entire time. White foamy bubbles will form. Continue stirring!
The peanuts will slowly begin to tan. When the syrup reaches the correct temperature it will darken quickly and become a golden AMBER color and be very sticky. Remove from heat (just tranfer the pan to an eye on the stove that isn't on) QUICKLY add the butter stirring rapidly. Add the baking soda. Stir rapidly. Quickly pour the mixture onto the cookie sheet and spread it thin. It will begin to solidy very fast but will still be too hot to break into pieces.
Let it cool completely, then break into pieces and enjoy!