I am a few weeks early on this one, but I can't resist. As soon as I saw the theme for this month's Sugar High Friday (SHF), Sugar Art, I knew that I would make Mom's peanut brittle. This is the sugar art that I grew up with—a crackly, buttery brittle loaded with peanuts that crunches nicely in your mouth without breaking your teeth. It's a Christmas tradition for my family.
Making peanut brittle is fun and relatively easy, you just have to watch the temperatures closely and work very quickly when you pour the hot liquid out onto the cookie sheet. If possible, have another person help you hold the pot and pour while you spread the brittle around.
Over the years, I have changed the recipe a bit and I now use golden syrup instead of the original light corn syrup. Golden syrup is made from sugar rather than corn and has a smooth, buttery flavor that lends a deeper, richer flavor to the candy. You can find golden syrup under brand names King or Lyle's, and both work very well.
Mom's Peanut Brittle
- 4 quart heavy bottom sauce pan with a lid
- candy thermometer
- cookie sheet lined with silicone mat or parchment paper (or buttered)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
- ½ cup water
- 10 ounces raw Spanish peanuts
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Combine sugar, syrup and water in heavy pan. Stir over medium heat, cooking until the sugar dissolves. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Remove cover and cook to soft ball stage (234° F).
- Add the peanuts and stir. Cook until brittle reaches hard crack stage (300° F), stirring frequently but not constantly. The sugar mixture should develop a golden brown color from the sugars caramelizing, and it needs the right balance of sitting and stirring to accomplish that. Do not allow the temperature to go over 300 as this can break down the sugar structure and leave it weak and spongy
- Remove from heat and add the salt, baking soda, vanilla, and butter. Stir until well blended. Spread onto a well buttered cookie sheet, working fast. If you want very thin candy, loosen the edges and stretch as thin as possible before it cools. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.