This holiday classic, peanut brittle, is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face. Both young and old love the crisp, crunchy texture and buttery taste of this old-fashioned candy.
My husband, Mitch, works at Golden Barrel Baking Products and sometimes he comes across a recipe he wants me to try. He’ll send me the recipe, whether it’s from a customer or one he finds elsewhere. A little while ago he asked if I could try my hand at peanut brittle. I took a look at the recipe and agreed to give it a try. That first recipe was a failure. While the recipe said that no candy thermometer was needed, I didn’t have success without it. It was my first attempt at making any kind of candy-type item so I had no clue how long I was supposed to cook this bubbly pot of sugar.
That first batch of “brittle” was soft and very chewy. As in, chewy enough that my son’s friend lost a tooth eating it (true story). It still tasted yummy but it was hard to eat. It was basically a guessing game when cooking the sugar this way. So I looked up several other recipes that swore by using a candy thermometer. I ran to the local little Mennonite store and bought one. It made all the difference. So that’s my advice to you–if you don’t have a candy thermometer, get one for this recipe. This is the one I bought but I got mine at Weaver’s Store for $2 for all you local Lancaster County people. (Gotta love Weaver’s! 😉 )
It really is a straightforward recipe once you have a candy thermometer. You simply boil the sugar, corn syrup, and water, adding a cup or so of peanuts until it reaches 300 degrees (which takes about 20 minutes or so). Add the butter and baking soda and voila, it’s done! Spread out on a parchment-lined sheet pan and let cool completely before breaking into delicious bite-sized pieces.
Being a former history teacher, I’m always curious about the story behind things. So I looked up peanut brittle and as the legend goes, a Southern woman mistakenly came about making peanut brittle. Instead of adding cream of tarter to the batch of candy she was making, she accidentally put in baking soda. This caused the candy to become brittle instead of chewy–thus the birth of peanut brittle. And now this candy has become a favorite among kids of all ages! It’s a classic that I think you should make this holiday season.
This stuff is seriously addicting. Once you break off a piece and give a little nibble, you tend to keep reaching your hand back for more. This is the perfect time of year to indulge! Bring this peanut brittle along to Christmas parties and you’ll be asked for the recipe, I guarantee it. 😉
Peanut brittle makes for a perfect homemade Christmas present and can be easily put in containers and shipped to friends and family. What a tasty way to say “I love you” to someone special.
Kat is a mother of three boys who loves to bake and enjoys all things DIY. She has been blogging since 2010 featuring recipes and home design projects. Some of her home projects have been featured in Country Living and This Old House magazine, as well as many other prominent DIY blogs and websites.