I have no willpower when it comes to peanut brittle.  Discipline vanishes.  Indulgence rules.  And, maybe that’s not such a bad thing as the holidays continue their relentless, forward push.

2011 being a year with a culinary theme for me, I thought that gift giving could have a sugary flavor. Who doesn’t want to receive a homemade confection?  Particularly, if it tastes good? With that thought, my daughter and I decided to embark upon a Thanksgiving photo shoot/holiday packaging/brittle making session. While the rest of you were at Best Buy staring at flat screens, we were at a crafts store examining crinkly paper and fancy Chinese food take-out boxes to make the Brittle look fabulous.

Brittle isn’t hard to make, but you do need a sugar thermometer. A silicone matt will make the process easier.  Latex gloves will help to protect your fingers from the heat of the cooling mixture.

PEANUT BRITTLE

Ingredients:

  • Sugar 14 oz
  • Water 6 ½ oz
  • Corn Syrup 10 oz
  • Peanuts (raw) 16 oz
  • Salt 1 t
  • Butter (unsalted) 1 oz
  • Vanilla Extract ¼ oz
  • Baking Soda ¼ oz

Preparation:

  • Combine 1st 3 ingredients and bring to a boil while stirring. Allow to boil, without stirring, until temperature reaches 239 degrees. Add raw peanuts, (roasted peanuts will overcook and taste burned) stirring constantly until temperature reaches 311 degrees.
  • Remove from heat and stir in salt, butter, vanilla and finally, baking soda.
  • Pour mixture onto your silicone mat.  If a silicone mat is not a resident of your kitchen, you could use oiled marble.
  • Now, you have a decision to make.  If you like your brittle to be thick, leave it alone.  If you prefer a thin brittle, put your latex gloves on.
  • As the brittle cools, start pulling gently from the outside rim. Do not walk away. Brittle cools faster than you might expect.  Stand by the brittle to test the heat and pull.  Eventually, you will work your way towards the center of the brittle and will be able to pull that area, too. Pull until the desired level of thin-ness is reached.
  • When the candy has cooled completely, break the brittle apart with your hands and package to your heart’s content. Bright colored aluminum foil looks beautiful against the rich brown of the Brittle.  Check out a crafts store.  The possibilities are endless. Your friends and family will love receiving a gift of homemade candy.