Peanut Brittle is not something I make very often. I don’t know why I don’t make if often, it’s actually pretty simple. There is more margin for error in this recipe than in some of my other candy recipes.
This recipe is a favorite no matter where I serve it. It is also one of those food I try not to keep laying around the house as we eat far too much of it when it’s here.
There are recipes around the internet that do not require a candy thermometer, but this is not one of those. I cook mine until it reaches the hard crack stage. I prefer this method as it avoids the dreaded “too chewy” brittle.
You can also use the ice water method to test the candy. If you put some of the mixture in a glass of ice water, it should form hard crunchy pieces. You might even notice that the mixtures looks like shards of glass as you move the mixture from the pan to the glass. If this happens, it will be as fine as hair and will shatter when you touch it. If this happens, you have more than likely reached the hard crack stage.
You can use more or less peanuts, that’s up to you. I have made it with less peanuts, but never more. The peanuts are not our favorite part of this candy recipe.
The vanilla can be omitted, but I personally like the added layer of flavor it adds. I also kind of like how it sizzles angrily when I add it to the hot candy.
Be sure to grease or butter the heck out of your baking sheets you use for cooling. This will make it easier to get out of the pan. You can also use non-stick aluminum foil, but you have to pour it into a long stream otherwise it can overflow the edges of the aluminum foil and I have no tricks up my sleeve for salvaging that candy.
If it ever gets stuck don’t panic until you have turned the pan over on a countertop and given it a good whack in the middle. More times than not, my candy has released from the middle and shattered. This allowed me to get the rest of the candy out of the pan. You have less control over the breakage this way, but you won’t lose and entire pan of candy either. Besides, peanut brittle has a mind of its own when it comes to breaking into pieces anyway.
Heavily butter TWO 9 X 13 baking sheets with a rim, or heavily coat with baking spray.
Gather and measure all ingredients prior to starting the candy. Set everything near the pan you are cooking the candy in.
In a large sauce pan, combine sugar, syrup, water, and salt.
Turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
Once mixture comes to a boil, put the lid on the pan for a minute or so to make sure that all sugar crystals are melted and not sticking to the side of the pan.
Remove lid and add raw peanuts. If you are using roasted peanuts, do not ad those yet, they will burn.
When candy reaches about 265 Degrees F, place prepared baking sheets into oven to warm them up. This will keep your candy from getting too cool before you have had a chance to spread it thinly. Now would also be a good time to add roasted peanuts if you are using those instead of raw.
Continue boiling, stirring frequently until candy reaches the hard crack stage or 300 Degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Turn off the heat.
Add vanilla and carefully stir it in. This will sizzle and some of the hot candy may splatter, this candy is hot enough to burn skin.
Add softened butter, and stir until butter has melted and is combined with candy. Be careful, the candy may splatter up during this step too.
Add the baking soda and stir, stir, and stir some more. You want to make sure that all candy has come into contact with the baking soda.
Remove baking sheets from oven.
Carefully pour candy equally into the two baking pans.
Quickly spread out candy with your cooking spoon or 2 forks. The candy will look like it’s deflated and ruined where you touched it, it will be fine and will go back to looking the way it did before you touched it.
Allow to cool completely, this will depend on the thickness of your candy.
Once completely cooled, break into pieces and store in airtight containers.
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