How to Make Peanut Brittle

by Tricia Ballad

Start to Finish: 2 to 4 hours, depending on climate; 1 hour active cooking time

Servings: 1 pound, about 4 servings

Difficulty: Intermediate

Classic peanut brittle involves little more than melted sugar and peanuts. The key to making this candy is to have all of your ingredients and materials ready before you begin to cook. You need a heavy baking pan, parchment paper or a silicone mat, and assorted bowls to hold pre-measured ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cups light corn syrup
  • 2 cups chopped, roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Lay a sheet of parchment or a silicone mat on a heavy baking sheet. Spray it lightly with cooking spray and set it aside.

Mix the sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan.

Tips

  • Use a larger saucepan than you think you need -- at least a 2-quart capacity. The candy increases in volume dramatically in the last step.

Cook the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. This could take anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour, depending on the temperature of your stove, the size of the pan and the ambient temperature and humidity in the room. Do not stir the sugar mixture.

Warnings

  • Keep a close eye on the cooking sugar mixture. It can go from barely amber to burnt very quickly.

When the mixture begins to brown around the edges, gently swirl the pan to mix and cook the sugar evenly.

Add the peanuts and butter. Continue cooking over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until the mixture turns an even dark amber color.

Stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture foams up with this addition to double or triple its original volume. Keep stirring until the bubbles break and the baking soda and vanilla are fully incorporated.

Pour the candy onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a silicone spatula to spread it into a thin layer.

Warnings

  • Be careful while pouring the hot candy. Melted sugar can cause serious burns if it splashes on your skin.

Let it sit for one to three hours until the peanut brittle cools completely and hardens. Peel off the parchment paper or silicone mat and break the brittle into chunks.

Store the peanut brittle in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one month.

Variations

Use any combination of nuts in place of the peanuts in this recipe. Roasted, salted and shelled sunflower seeds are good nut-free substitutions.

Dip hardened brittle in melted chocolate to take this candy over the top.

Peanut brittle ships well and makes a great addition to a care package for a far-away friend or relative.

About the Author

Tricia Ballad is a writer, author and project geek. She has written several books including two novels, teaches classes on goal setting and project planning for writers, and loves to cook in her spare time. She is living proof that you can earn a living with a degree in creative writing.