Thursday, December 16, 2010

13. Soft Peanut Brittle

I bought some peanut brittle from a road side fresh market stand. I asked the clerk did he like the brittle; was it good? He responded, and I quote, “Yes.” Based on the gushing recommendation, I purchased an overpriced small bag of brittle. Upon tasting the brittle I was disappointed. It was good, but there were hardly any peanuts.

I mean if I was measuring, there was a good 1 inch of more of space from one peanut to the next. I mean come on; it is peanuts, one of the cheapest legumes! If I wanted to eat hard caramelized sugar, I would have bought such, but I didn’t; I bought PEANUT brittle.

In the spirit of wanting more peanuts, I decided to whip up a quick batch of peanut brittle. Not that I had ever made it before, but I had all the ingredients and the recipe seemed easy enough. The crazy part is that we were in the middle of baking/cooking for a large dinner party that afternoon and I decided to just randomly make peanut brittle. My mother stepped away from the stove to cut up her trimmings for the stuffing and I quickly shuffled in and started making brittle.

Though I had all the ingredients on hand, I did not have enough of them. I halved the recipe because I only had one cup of Peanut Butter and after starting I realized I did not have enough corn syrup. But it did not matter, the soft brittle was delightful. It was crunchy, but not hard. All my fillings remained intact. And though peanut butter was an ingredient, it was not overwhelmingly peanut-butter tasting. I decided to put the make shift, last minute brittle out at the dinner party (so I would not eat it all myself).

But the biggest compliment came from my mother. First, as I have discussed before she tells me everything I make is fine--not good, great, wonderful--just fine… So I will not get a big head, she says. The brittle actually got a “good” from her. Second, this really tripped me out. I placed two pieces of brittle aside, so all would not be eaten by the party goers. Later when I go back to the baggie I placed aside, I noticed two extra pieces added to the bag. She made sure to put some aside so she would have some for later. NOW THAT is when I really knew this recipe was a keeper.

Soft Peanut Brittle
Adapted from Wives with Knives

1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/4 cup Honey (or just use all corn syrup, total 3/4 cup)
1/8 cup Water
1 TBS Butter
1 heaping cup Peanuts, salted
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Water
1/2 tsp Vanilla


1. Prepare cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine sugar, syrup, honey, and 1/8 cup of water in a sauce pan.

3. Cook over high heat until the temperature reads 275 degrees.

4. Lower heat to medium and stir in butter.

5. When temperature reaches about 290 degrees stir in peanuts.

6. Meanwhile, melt peanut butter in microwave.

7. When mixture reaches 300 degrees pull it off the heat.

8. Dissolve baking soda in 1 tsp water and stir, along with vanilla, into mixture.

9. Fold warm peanut butter into the mixture. Work quickly.

10. Pour out onto parchment paper. Take another piece of parchment paper and place it over the top of the brittle. Covering your hands with a pot holder, press the brittle down. Press as thin as possible.

11. Let cool completely before breaking it into smaller pieces.

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