Chip and I made peanut brittle the first year we were together for Halloween. It was the first time I made it. I was standing there in my witch’s hat stirring it while he watched, and I somehow managed to make some half decent brittle and get a really bad burn. We still laugh about that. It became a family tradition, and every year we still make it around Halloween.
It’s an old candy. I remember we’d sometimes get a tin of it at my dad’s country store, and we’d sell it by the piece. I guess people worried a lot less about germs in those days. Later, it would come in individual blocks, but lately, I never see it at all. It’s very inexpensive to make. Tonight I had everything but peanuts, which were $1.68. I had enough left for Kung Pao chicken next week.
Here’s my recipe:
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup Karo ® light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
Grease or butter a cookie sheet. (I use a pizza pan.) Set aside.
In a heavy tall stockpot, over medium heat, bring corn syrup, salt, and water to boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), or until a small amount dropped into very cold water turns hard and makes brittle threads.
Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. Spread it out on the cookie sheet so that it’s about 1/3-1/2 inch thick. Let cool, then snap candy into pieces.
Now, some tips. Use a TALL pan. Remember how I said I got burnt that first year? Well, my pan wasn’t tall enough. Sometimes when you add the baking soda, it will foam up for a minute. I had an old recipe then with more baking soda – this particular recipe shouldn’t foam more than 3 inches – but just in case you get the measurement wrong, use a tall pan. You don’t want to get burnt with this stuff – it is hot and sticks to you and even a little makes a bad burn. It’s safe to make if you just make sure your pan is a TALL one. I use a stockpot.
It makes pretty fast, so be prepared for that – have your butter and baking soda READY once you hit right at your 300 degrees. The color will have started to change from clear to light tan at this stage, and you MIGHT start seeing what looks like fine hairs or threads when you pick your spoon up. Get it OFF the heat and move fast. I have my butter and baking soda in a little cup together so I can dump them both in at once. It will foam a bit and change color when the baking soda hits it, so stir it quickly.
It will have to cool – I sat mine outside tonight, covered. I’ve also let it cool in the fridge in year’s past – the only thing is, it should be LEVEL until it cools. Use a spatula to pry it up – it should come in one piece. I take a paper towel and wipe the back of mine off (less fat that way, from greasing the pan.) Then just pick it up and tap it on the pan to break it up.
Get your pan to some water and let it soak to clean it. Plan to let it soak a bit to keep it easy.
The brittle doesn’t have to be stored in the fridge. It’s fine at room temperature. I can’t tell you how long it lasts. Around here it never makes it past 3 days, or as soon as my dad comes over.
If you have questions, let me know!