grandma's peanut brittle recipe

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My grandmother was here on the east coast for Thanksgiving for the first time ever this year. She was quite the cook in her day. She ran the cafeteria where her kids went to school back when the food at school was homemade and tasty. Large quantities were no big deal to her. Besides cooking at school, she made meals at home from scratch for a family of nine seven days a week without skimping on the sweets.
During the holidays, she'd pull out all the stops and make trays and trays of turtles, fudge, and peanut brittle. The whole extended family would receive a large goody box for Christmas. The boxes stopped coming a few years ago when my grandmother's eyesight began to fail along with my grandfather's health, and the two of them retired to an assisted living place with not much of a kitchen.

While she was here, I persuaded her to walk me through her peanut brittle recipe.

Grandma's Peanut Brittle
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp salt
2 cups raw peanuts, shells removed (with the brown skins still on)
1tsp vanilla (omit if using vanilla flavored corn syrup)
3 TBS butter
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Combine sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil & add peanuts.
It will be a scary rolling boil, but don't turn it down. Our first batch was a failed batch because we didn't get the temperature high enough. A little drip of the hot syrup into a cold cup of water should yield a crunchy thread, not a chewy glob. For the second batch, we used a candy thermometer and cooked the mixture until it reached 300° F. As tempting as it may be, DON'T lick the spoon. Any higher & it will burn, so remove from heat right away, add the butter, vanilla ,and baking soda. Stir quickly.
The baking soda makes the syrup foam up, adding air into it making the brittle pleasantly crunchy rather than rock-like. Immediately spread the mixture onto a large buttered cookie sheet to cool.
To release from the pan, twist the pan as you would an ice cube tray.

In a tin or boxed up nicely, this candy makes a great little gift. I'm thinking this year I'll take a break from my usual granola and give peanut brittle.

No comments:

Post a Comment