Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last Minute Gift Idea?

Try this one. Sorry I forgot to snap a picture, but everyone who's had it has enjoyed it completely. I would have never thought of peanut brittle as a great gift- but apparently it works great because I have to keep buying peanuts to make more! You can certainly use any kind of nut you want-cashews are another particular favorite to me.

I still remember the very first time I made a nut brittle. I used a recipe from Joy of Cooking, and thought I would be both fancy and clever and use macadamia nuts. Do you know how much macadamia's cost in this part of the country? It's between 6-8 bucks for a tiny jar. It took three jars for one batch of brittle. I followed the directions to a tee and basically ended up with an inedible pile of macadamia nut...stuff. It took me awhile before I got brave enough to try again.

This recipe below I have yet to turn out wrong, and I've been making it for several years. Just one note on preparing it. The temperature of 295 is your window. The brittle will be fine from 295-300, so work quickly to add the baking soda and pour it out. I line my baking sheets with Reynold's Release, so I don't have to use butter and make the brittle greasy. I imagine a silpat would work as well.

Nut Brittle

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups raw peanuts -- or other coarsely chopped nuts
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda -- sifted

Butter two large baking sheets; set aside. Butter sides of a heavy 3 qt suacepan. In pan, combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and water. Cook and stir over medium high heat to boiling. Clip candy thermometer to side of pan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat to 275F, soft crack stage (about 30 minutes). Add nuts; cook and stir to 295F, hard crack stage (a5 to 20 minutes more). Remove saucepan from heat, remove thermometer.

Quickly sprinkle baking soda over mixture, stirring constantly. Immediately pour onto prepared baking sheets. Cool; break into pieces. Store tightly covered. Makes about 2 1/4 pounds.


JEP said...

Peanut brittle is indeed a great gift! I have found that it actually tastes better after it ages a bit!

Erika W. said...

Hee-Hee, I think every bite tastes better than the last. Hmm. Maybe that's why I keep running through it?

Anonymous said...

This reminded me that I want to try making nut brittle -- I've become addicted to jalepeno peanut brittle and want to attempt it myself.

Erika W. said...

Jalapeno!? Wow, that sounds interesting!