This recipe makes enough peanut brittle to share with family, friends, and coworkers. I have been tweaking this recipe ever since I thoroughly failed my first attempt in 1995.
I was at my sister Jaque’s house for our annual Christmas Cookie Day, and neither of us realized that her candy thermometer was broken. As I waited and waited for the magic 300°F hard crack stage, the concoction suddenly turned into a solid mass of charred sugar.
Thus began my mission to master peanut brittle, and perhaps my ultimate decision to write a cookbook!
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
||Line a half sheet pan; set over a wire rack. Measure all ingredients before continuing. This recipe moves fast.||Parchment paper releases easily without leaving a residue.|
||In a 3-quart tri-ply saucepan (select one with a tight-fitting glass lid) gently stir until uniform in color. The mixture will be quite thick. Pan size is very important, do not substitute. Take care to avoid splashing sugar crystals onto pan sides. Cover and bring to the boil over high heat until steam escapes around lid edges (6-7 minutes).||Candy thermometers require 2 inches of liquid depth for accuracy. Smaller pans risk boiling over. Keeping sugar off pan sides, and using steam to wash down sides promotes thorough crystal breakdown. Glass makes it easy to monitor the heating process.|
|Remove cover. Stir once with a bamboo spatula, just to prevent burned spots. Insert a candy thermometer; boil sugar syrup to 300°F Hard Crack Stage (5-6 minutes) stirring just 2-3 times more. When measuring the temperature, take care that the thermometer tip does not touch the base of the pan. If there is any doubt about thermometer accuracy, drop a spoonful of the mixture into ice water. When it is at the hard-crack stage, it becomes brittle in seconds.||A bamboo spatula offers good coverage, low heat conductivity, and is gentle on cookware. Frequent stirring is counterproductive because it cools the mixture. Touching the base of the pan with the thermometer causes inaccurate readings.|
||With the pan still over high heat, stir in peanuts a fourth at a time with the bamboo spatula. Continue continually stirring until mixture is a rich golden brown (5-6 minutes). Immediately remove the pan from heat.||Adding peanuts in small portions helps prevent seizing (suddenly cooling and hardening).|
||Quickly add all and stir until butter is fully incorporated and the mixture is creamy looking (2-3 minutes).||Baking soda helps lighten the mixture so that it is not overly dense.|
|Pour mixture in a zigzag down each prepared sheet pan, allowing it to spread naturally. Cool thoroughly (about 1 hour).||Pouring candy in a zigzag promotes even spreading.|
||Transfer parchment onto a thick dish towel, cover with another piece of parchment to contain flying slivers and tap with a hammer to break into pieces. Store in an airtight container up to several weeks; do not refrigerate. To clean the saucepan, wait for it to cool and then soak in hot water.||A hammer keeps hands safe from sharp candy edges. Refrigeration makes brittle sticky when defrosted.|
Additional Testing Notes: If you do not have parchment paper, generously coat pan with avocado oil, but be aware that the bottom of the brittle will be oily. Butter or shortening the pans leave an unpleasant residue. Foil and waxed paper stick to candy.