As far as Christmas foods go, i.e., those that you make and consume between December 15 and January 2, peanut brittle is where it’s at, candy-wise. My mom always made it from scratch and I didn’t even realize that you could buy mass-produced peanut brittle until I moved away from home (truth: I haven’t tried it but I totally judge it as inferior).
Making peanut brittle from scratch is dead simple as long as you have the following:
- A candy thermometer.
- A good sense of timing, which helps to make sure you don’t cook the candy mixture just slightly too long and end up with a burned instead of a caramelized mess.
- A friend who can help you quickly pour and spread the candy mixture, but it isn’t necessary.
If I haven’t lost you yet, why not drop that pre-made peanut brittle and give this recipe a try.
Peanut Brittle (from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, 1972)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup light corn syrup
3 tbsp butter or margarine
1 lb shelled unroasted peanuts (2 cups)
1. Butter 2 baking sheets, each 15 1/2 x 12”; keep warm. Combine soda, 1 tsp water and the vanilla. Set aside.
2. Combine sugar, 1 cup water and the corn syrup in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to 240F on candy thermometer.
3. Stir in butter and peanuts. Cook, stirring constantly, to 300F. Watch carefully so mixture does not burn.
4. Immediately remove from heat; stir in soda mixture thoroughly. Pour half the candy mixture onto each warm baking sheet and quickly spread evenly about 1/4” thick. Cool; break candy into pieces.