Sunday, December 09, 2007

Peanut Brittle

OK, so "next day" is really "five days from now when I have 5 minutes to sit down and think because yet once again I've decided to drive myself crazy in December." Forgive me? oh good. thanks.

Peanut Brittle. It seems to be the man favorite around here. I put off learning how to make it because I prefer fudge and toffee so much more. Brittle, however, is Steve's favorite, so I'm finally showing my love enough to make it for him.

The key to good brittle is the final cooking temperature. If you under cook it, you get chewy brittle; if you over cook it, it tastes burnt. My mom cooks candy without a thermometer (and if you make candy for 50 years (sorry, Mom) you too can stop using a thermometer) so I'm going to teach you how to use a cold water test with this one.

Peanut Brittle

2 c sugar
1 c corn syrup
1/2 c water
dash of salt
1/2 c butter
2 t vanilla
2 t baking soda
3 c raw peanuts (also called Spanish peanuts)

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, salt, and butter in a 4 1/2 or 5 quart sauce pan. Cook over medium heat with a lid on until the candy syrup comes to a full boil. (this is sweating the pan for you. ) Remove lid, add thermometer and cook stirring constantly until the syrup reaches soft ball stage (234 degrees F.) Add the peanuts. Keep stirring until the peanuts begin to look toasted. they will take on a golden color and your candy syrup will be a golden brown as well. When the candy reaches about 295 degrees F (hard crack) it should be done. You can test it with a cold water test to be sure. Grab a short glass of ice water (a 1 c measuring cup works well for this) and drizzle a small amount of candy into the cup. The candy will immediately solidify. Take it out and taste it. It should be hard and crunchy with no bend at all to it. if it's not, cook it a bit longer and test it again. If that is your candy, remove it from the heat. mix in the vanilla and baking soda. The baking soda will fizz up, so stir quickly and completely. Then pour it out onto a buttered, rimmed baking sheet. Using a heat resistant spatula, spread the candy out to be as even and flat as you can. Let the candy cool to room temperature and break into pieces to serve.

If you've missed my previous candy posts, the links are in the side bar. Start with the first one, the candy making tutorial. It will give you some pointers and techniques that will make all your candy come out better.

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