Peanut Brittle

Makes about 2 pounds (approximately 12 servings)

My friend Catherine lives in Virginia with her two little white Westies and for Christmas, I received a giant 2+ pound tub of REAL VIRGINIA HOME-COOKED GOURMET SALTED PEANUTS from them - HO HO HO! No additives, no preservatives - just pure, make in the USA peanuts flavored with nothing but salt and cooked in canola oil. They are the freshest, crunchiest, biggest peanuts EVER. You can order from http://www.vapeanuts.com and you'll love 'em! They make the perfect gift for someone like me - someone who has just about everything - except peanuts.

So now, what's a single girl like me with two handsome hound dogs going to do with a calculated 6800 calories worth of peanuts and free time on her hands? Why up the calorie count and make peanut brittle for the Superbowl, of course! (Would this be considered value-added regifting?)

You MUST have a candy thermometer for this fantastic, wonderfully simple treat and be sure to spread the hot mixture as thin as you can on the baking pans to make the brittle, well, brittle and not too thick so it's easy to crunch and less risk to your teeth.

This coveted recipe comes from Joan, who's endearing Greek husband, John, was long ago one of the inspirations behind this website, foodhistorian.com. This post is dedicated to John and his awesome family cookery! My wish is that we had captured his recipes and techniques before he died in 2007.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4-1/2 cups fresh roasted, salted peanuts, with NO skins (about 1-1/2 lbs)
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking soda

Method

  1. Coat two 12" x 17" baking pans with vegetable oil spray (pans with low sides are best so you can spread the mixture out).
  2. In a heavy 5-quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water. Mix well. Cover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Dissolve the sugar by swirling the pot often over the burner. Keeping the lid on will prevent sugar crystals from forming inside the pot. However, should sugar crystals form inside, wash down the sides with a wet pastry brush.
  3. Once steam begins to rise around the edges of the top, remove the cover and reduce heat to medium. Insert the candy thermometer and continue to boil until the temperature reaches 230 degrees (thread stage). This will take about one minute.
  4. Add the peanuts and stir constantly with a metal spoon until the mixture reaches 300 degrees (hard crack stage). This will take about 13-18 minutes and the mixture will be golden brown. Keep a close watch towards the end so the peanuts don't burn - it can happen quickly!
  5. Remove promptly from the heat and quickly add the butter, vanilla, and baking soda. Stir with the metal spoon until the butter melts. The mixture will rise and become frothy.
  6. Pour half of the mixture down the center of each prepared pan and then spread it evenly with the back of the spoon or a spatula. Spread as thin as you can so the peanut brittle will be easy to break into smaller pieces and easier to eat.
  7. Allow the peanut brittle to cool for at least one hour and then lift up an edge and crack it into smaller pieces.
  8. Store peanut brittle in an airtight container. It will remain fresh for about 2 weeks but it is likely not to last that long!