Thursday, 5 January 2012

Peanut Brittle

I've had candy thermometers at various times, but either they haven't worked or I do not have what it takes to use them properly. It's not like I need to be making candy anyway, but there are a few things that are fairly foolproof and can be done without one.

We used our! own! homegrown! peanuts for this, which was very exciting, but you could use any nuts you like, or pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds for that matter.

Making Peanut Brittle
The sugar should turn a good definite dark brown, even a little darker than in the photo although, of course, you don't want to burn it.

Peanut Brittle
2 cups shelled roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt

Have the peanuts measured and ready. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper, and grease it generously with the butter.

Put the sugar and honey into a fairly deep, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring only once at the beginning to get the sugar dissolved.

Once the mixture is boiling briskly, but in no danger of boiling over, let it boil for another 4 to 5 minutes, watching it closely but not stirring. When it turns to a deep golden brown, remove it from the heat at once. Mix in the peanuts, and the baking soda if you want to add it. This will give the peanut brittle a very different texture, as it will make it full of tiny bubbles.

Spread the hot peanut mixture out on the prepared parchment paper, spreading it as evenly and as thinly as you can. Sprinkle the salt over the top evenly. If you used the baking soda, use less salt. If you did not use baking soda, you can use a little more salt. Let the brittle set for several hours in a cool spot, then break it up and store it between sheets of parchment paper in a sealed tin.


Dallas said...

I have a lot of issues with candy thermometers too. They never seem to work very well. I tried twice to make pumpkin seed brittle and both times I failed :-(

sheila said...

The above site might help you figure out how to make a candy thermometer work for you. I was taught as a kid that it's important to test a candy thermometer before each use. Not only does elevation make a difference, but the air pressure on any given day can also change the boiling point of water by enough to ruin a batch of candy. To confirm the candy thermometer results we also double checked the progress of each batch using a glass of ice cold water and the soft/hard ball test. In addition, I never try to make candy, especially brittles, in the summer. You need dry air or the brittle just sucks moisture from the air and is soggy instead of brittle.

sheila said...

One more thought to clarify my first post....

Air in northern homes (upstate NY here) in the winter is very dry due to central heating. This might be different in other parts of the country.