Did you know that apparently Europeans don’t like peanut butter very much?
If you’re wondering how that’s even possible, I’m totally with you.
My friend Elena shared this article on Facebook, “Bad News for U.S. Farmers: Europeans Still Think Peanut Butter Is Nasty” and I just couldn’t believe it. I LOVE all things peanuts. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…peanut butter cups…peanut butter pie…peanut butter cookies…and heck, even peanuts in my stir fry…I probably eat my body weight’s worth of peanut every year. Half of that being the peanuts in all the peanut brittle I eat during the holidays.
The holiday fudge…the Christmas cookies…they’re good…but my absolute favorite holiday treat has got to be peanut brittle.
Aside from being totally addictive and delicious, peanut brittle is awesome because it’s the ultimate edible giftable Christmas present. Pack it up in those cute metal tins and mail it off to someone you love…and better yet, you won’t have to pay for the outrageous overnight shipping, because that brittle will keep well for a couple weeks (if stored properly).
And as if you need another reason to make this peanut brittle, if you’re scared of cooked sugar and caramels, peanut brittle is the most forgiving of them all. I don’t have a candy thermometer (I use an instant read thermometer) and there have been times when I have accidentally let the peanut brittle cook past 300 degrees F, and it has always turned out perfectly (a lot of brittle recipes don’t even provide a temperature for this reason. Once it’s golden brown, it’s good to go, and there’s plenty of wiggle room). So BAM! There’s reason number three why you should try making some peanut brittle this year.
Start with sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. It’s going to look all undistributed, but make sure you don’t stir it together:
It will eventually dissolve and become a homogenous mixture. First it will look like a bubbling pot of clear syrup:
But eventually it will turn amber, and that’s when you mix in butter, baking soda, and peanuts. Spread the mixture out onto a sheet pan to cool:
Once it has cooled, break the brittle into shards, and eat! Store in an airtight container.
I recommend you watch the video if you want a better idea of what everything should look like, so check it out:
- 2 tsp vegetable oil, or cooking spray for greasing the pan
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups salted dry roasted peanuts
- Grease a half sheet pan with 2 tsp vegetable oil or cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan, and shake it back and forth so the pile of sugar flattens out. Add the corn syrup and water, but don't stir it together. Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and watch as the sugar goes through several stages (over the next 15-20 minutes). First the sugar will dissolve, then it will turn into a clear sugar syrup and bubble like crazy, then the sugar syrup will eventually take on a clearish golden brown amber color, and cook to 300 degrees F (after the sugar syrup has taken on this golden brown color is when I check that it has reached 300, but if you have a clip-on thermometer then you can leave it in the whole time).
- After the mixture has reached 300 degrees F, add the butter, baking soda, and peanuts, and stir it all together. Pour the mixture onto the greased baking sheet and spread it with a spatula to your desired thinness. Let the brittle cool completely, then break it into pieces. Store the brittle in an airtight container once it has cooled (otherwise your brittle will absorb moisture from the air and get sticky). The brittle should last a couple weeks if stored in a cool, dry place.
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