Everyone who knows me well, knows that when the days get shorter and the temperature starts dropping, I can be found in my kitchen late at night or early in the morning making peanut brittle for holiday gifts. I enjoy making it because it is simple and there are endless variations you can make to put your stamp on it. It also makes for a great merde or secret santa gift because the sugar gives you immediate energy and the peanuts help you to not crash and burn!
Classic Peanut Brittle:
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup (trust me, it is easier this way then messing with just sugar and water, and it makes the recipe foolproof)
1 1/2-2 cups Spanish peanuts (depending on how nutty you desire)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Put sugar and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir until it boils. Keep stirring and notice that mixture is sticky when you lift the spoon. As you stir over the next few minutes, mixture will turn clear and become a fluid liquid. You can again test this by letting it roll off the spoon. After another few minutes, mixture will become furry again. This means it is getting to the hardball candy stage. (approximately 6-8 minutes of continuous boil and stir over medium heat)
2. Add the peanuts. Keep stirring. If you stop for too long, it will burn. After a couple of minutes the clear mixture around the peanuts will start to take on a golden hue.
3. Stir in pat of butter.
4. Once butter is combined, stir in the teaspoon of baking soda. The mixture will fizz up and double in size.
5. Quickly pour onto a buttered cookie sheet and spread as thin as you can.
6. Let cool for 15 minutes and it should be hard enough to snap into pieces.
Some favorite variations include: all other nuts, dipping edges in chocolate, adding spices and dashes of extracts (such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon, or vanilla).
Will post photos of Pecan Brittle soon for you Georgians!