Peanut Brittle

    Peanut Brittle
Peanut Brittle with bacon, cinnamon, and chili powder.

This is my twist on Grandma Great’s recipe.  I added vanilla and salt and tweaked the instructions.

NOTES:

If you use a wide bottom pan (larger than about 8″ across), it will be difficult to monitor the temperature with a thermometer because the sugar will be very shallow in the bottom of the pan.  Another solution would be to do a double batch to increase the volume.

Theory:

This is what I think I know about heating sugar for candies:

  1. Sugar is going to change state (and temperature) based on the amount of water in the mixture.
  2. You can bring the sugar up to boiling at high heat but, as soon as it starts boiling, you need to reduce the heat to just above medium to keep from burning the sugar on the bottom of the pan.
  3. You don’t need to increase the heat of the stove to increase the heat in the sugar.  You need to wait, stirring occasionally, for the water to boil out of the mixture.  Raw peanuts contain a lot of moisture so it takes a lot longer to cook peanut brittle than other candies.

INGREDIENTS (first step):

  • 1 cup Light Karo Syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water

INGREDIENTS (SECOND STEP):

  • 12 oz uncooked peanuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional / Alton Brown version)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional / Alton Brown version)

INGREDIENTS (THIRD STEP):

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Optional – 3/4 cup bacon bits. (8 slices)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Grease a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan and set it aside.
  2. Place all the FIRST STEP ingredients in a cast iron pan or Dutch oven
  3. Bring to a boil on high heat stirring continuously.
  4. When the mixture begins to boil and turns clear, add the peanuts (SECOND STEP) and reduce the heat to medium.
  5. Stir frequently until the temperature gets to between a soft crack and hard crack stage (about 285 – 290 degrees).  If you heat it all the way to hard crack, the peanuts will burn.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the THIRD STEP ingredients.
  7. Pour the mixture out onto the cookie sheet and smooth it until the peanuts are in a single layer.  *Grandma’s recipe said to pour it in and don’t spread it.  This made a thicker and more airy brittle.
  8. When the mixture cools, break it into small pieces.
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