Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle is the perfect holiday foodie gift for family and friends. It’s relatively easy to make, delicious to munch on, and will keep for several weeks in an airtight container.
The ingredients for this Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle include sugar, corn syrup, water, peanuts, vanilla extract, butter, and baking soda. The “special” equipment includes a heavy 2-quart saucepan, a candy thermometer, and a large parchment lined baking sheet.
A Word About Corn Syrup:
Corn syrup is actually a key ingredient in not only this peanut brittle, but also other candies and ice creams. More and more people, however, are reluctant to use corn syrup in their confections because of the negative health effects associated with high-fructose corn syrup. The truth of the matter is that corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup are two very different products. Although both products are made from corn starch, regular corn syrup is 100% glucose. High-fructose corn syrup on the other hand undergoes a chemical process that converts about half of the glucose into fructose. Karo Corn Syrup is 100% glucose. This is not necessarily the case with other corn syrups. Check the label. If high-fructose corn syrup has been added, it or HFCS will be listed on the ingredients label.
The first thing that I did was to add the sugar, corn syrup, and water to my sauce pan. I stirred the mixture and placed it over medium heat to dissolve the sugar.
I then attached my candy thermometer to the pan, and continued cooking and stirring the mixture over medium heat until it reached 250° F. It took about 20 minutes to reach 250° F. At this point, I added the peanuts. I used lightly salted dry roasted peanuts and therefore didn’t add any salt. Had I used raw peanuts, I would have added them at the same time as the sugar, corn syrup, and water, and included 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Had I used unsalted dry roasted peanuts, I would have included 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and added them at the 250° F mark.
When I added the peanuts, the temperature of the mixture dropped pretty significantly. This was not a problem because I continued to cook and stir it over medium heat until it reached 300° F, which is the hard crack stage. This took another 15 minutes or so. During this time, the peanut brittle began to color to a golden brown. When the mixture reached 300° F, I removed the pan from the heat, and stirred in the butter and vanilla. It’s important for the peanut brittle to reach the hard crack stage. If it doesn’t, the candy will be sticky.
Then, I added the baking soda, and stirred the mixture until everything was well combined. Baking soda is actually an important ingredient in peanut brittle. It produces a lot of little bubbles in the peanut brittle, and provides a more delicate texture and crunch to the candy.
Finishing The Peanut Brittle:
While the peanut brittle mixture was cooking, I put the parchment lined baking sheet into the oven to heat it. I then put the heated baking sheet on two burners and turned them on low to continue heating the baking sheet. The reason for this is that the peanut brittle mixture quickly begins to harden when removed from the heat. If it is poured onto a heated surface, it is much easier to spread out.
I poured the peanut brittle mixture onto the heated baking sheet, and spread it as best as I could. Because the baking sheet was hot, it actually spread pretty easily.
I removed the baking sheet from the burners, and placed it on a wire rack so that the peanut brittle could cool completely.
After the peanut brittle had cooled completely, I began the fun part of breaking it into pieces.
I stored the Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle in an airtight container. If it’s not stored in an airtight container, the peanut brittle is likely to get sticky from the humidity in the air. Also, it should not be refrigerated because refrigeration will alter its consistency.
Oh my gosh, this is addictive and about as perfect a peanut brittle as I’ve ever eaten. Yum!