Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Brittle (of the peanut variety)

A while ago at the store, I picked up what I thought was a candy thermometer.  I've been curious about making candy and thought I'd try it out this Christmas.  Apparently, I am ignorant, because what I bought was a tiny meat thermometer, which will not work for making candy.  Since it is so close to Christmas, I am avoiding Fred Meyer and Target like the plague, but I still wanted to make peanut brittle.  So, I looked at many, many recipes trying to find one that both sounded good and didn't use a candy thermometer.  I liked the idea of having peanut butter mixed into the brittle but couldn't find a recipe sans thermometer.  I decided to be wildly adventurous once again and combine a couple of recipes in hopes it would work and it did!  So, here is my own little creation for those of you who, like me, don't know a candy thermometer when you see one.  ...and note that there is not a lot of variation to the many brittle recipes out there, so I wasn't going THAT far out on a limb.

Danielle's Peanut Butter Peanut Brittle
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup light corn syrup
a dash of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 cups peanuts

Generously butter a rimmed cookie sheet and set aside.
In a double boiler, melt peanut butter until liquid, set aside, keep warm.
In a large saucepan, heat syrup, sugar and water on high, stir just enough so the ingredients combine.  When it comes to a boil, it should be a pale gold color. 
Continue to boil on high, stirring infrequently, for about 8-10 minutes until the mixture turns a nice, dark amber color.  (Stir just enough to loosen the sugar from the bottom of the pot.)
Remove from heat, add vanilla and peanut butter and stir vigorously until combined.  Add peanuts and stir until coated.
Working very quickly and using a buttered or otherwise greased metal spatula, spread brittle evenly onto cookie sheet.  The thinner the better.  It should cover most of the sheet.
Let cool then snap into pieces and store in an air-tight container.

This is not the most friendly recipe to those with dental-work, so don't say I didn't warn you.

***A note to Pacific Northwesters: while I was doing all my "research" on peanut brittle I came across an interesting note ala Martha Stewart.  She says that because sugar naturally soaks in moisture, it is best to make brittle on a sunny, dry day.  I laughed out loud when I read that.

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