HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Peanut brittle (sort of long, but please help!)

I tried making peanut brittle last night with very interesting but not entirely successful results. Maybe some candy experts can help.

I looked up several recipes and was surprised to see very different methods. Some called for using sugar only; some called for sugar and water; and some for sugar and corn syrup. I think the reason for adding water is to slow the heating of the sugar so it doesn't go from golden to burnt too suddenly. The sugar-and-corn syrup approaches have you add baking soda at the end, warning that it will bubble up. The sugar-only methods did not call for baking soda. The sugar-and-corn syrup method called for using a candy thermometer until the proper temperature was reached (295 degrees), while the sugar-only method merely called for reaching the desired color. The sugar-only method called for not stirring -- except for one that did -- and the sugar-and-corn syrup method called for frequent stirring. And, oh yes, one other thing. Some recipes wanted you to add the peanuts at the beginning, and some at the end.

First I tried the sugar-and-corn syrup method. Following instructions, I started at medium temperature until the sugar melted, then turned up to high and stirred frequently. I started checking the temperature with a candy thermometer. The mixture began to color to golden brown, but I was only at 250 degrees. I backed off the heat a little and contintued. By the time I got to the correct temperature, the mixture seemed too dark --over-cooked. When it had cooled, it did, in fact, have a burnt flavor. But not too much. Just enough to be on the other side of good.

Then I tried the sugar-only method. The Mark Bittman-NY Times recipe was a little puzzling. In the intro paragraphs, he says, "... sometimes carmelized sugar burns or becomes...lumpy. A couple of tips can help you avoid these pitfalls... Add a little water.. which slows the cooking process...allow(ing) you to stir out lumps... Veterans -- and the brave -- will do without water and without stirring...just shak(ing) the pan occasionally to move the melted sugar off the bottom.... *Stirring dry sugar almost guarantees lumps*..."

Then, in the body of the recipe, he instructs, "Stir occasionally." So, to stir or not to stir? I stirred. I got lumps. In fact, it appeared that my sugar never really melted -- it never achieved what I would call a thick and syrupy liquid -- it looked pretty much like sugar the whole time. When I tried to turn it out onto the pan, it couldn't spread at all -- I had hard, sugary balls with peanuts in them.

Next, I went back to the sugar-and-cornstarch method, figuring if I just used my eyes and nose instead of being a slave to the themometer, I'd be fine. (I appreciated how well the mixture melted.) I took it off when it appeared golden brown -- far sooner than the 20 minutes suggested in the recipe. This batch looked great, but had an off-flavor. Huh!

I've been very successful at making a Passover carmelized matzo treat that seems very similar, except it uses butter and brown sugar, melted and poured over matzo and baked for 15 minutes. The result is a delightful carmalized matzo.

Tell me, oh wise candy-makers... What method do you use? Why didn't my sugar melt? Why do we add baking soda when using sugar and corn syrup? Do you add vanilla, as some recipes say to do? And why, oh why, didn't any of my methods work? I await your guidance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I use a sugar/water/corn syrup mixture (with a dash of cream of tartar added) and I stir it only at the very beginning to mix the ingredients. Then, I leave it ALONE. I don't stir it at all and keep it at med/high heat. If it's at high heat, it will brown before it reaches temp, as yours did.

    Once my mixture starts to color, I will occasionally gently swirl the pan (but don't stir!!) so it browns evenly. Once it reaches temp (340F), I remove it from the heat, add a little butter (I also add some cinnamon at this point) and once that melts, add my peanuts and baking soda and stir quickly and immediately spread on a greased baking sheet.

    I have made probably 100 batches this way and have never had a bad batch.

    1. I had a very similar experience with Bittman's recipe. Never got it to work. So, I went back to the drawing board. Now, I use regular granulated sugar with a bit of water mixed in. I pour that into the pan with a bit of cream of tartar. then I mix it up so that the sugar is dissolving in the water. I then heat it for a long while (15 minutes, I think). I don't stir it at all. I don't touch it. I just let it heat. Eventually, it will by syrupy and shortly after it will turn a golden brown. That's when I throw in the peanuts, some salt, and a pat of butter. Mix it all up and then spread it on a pan to cool.

      1 Reply
      1. re: glutton

        I just tried Bittman's recipe, and it came out perfect. I used a non-stick skillet on a gas burner (on low heat). The sugar melted and turned medium brown, pretty much on its own. I think it took about six or seven minutes. I stirred it a bit towards the end in order to make sure that it was all melted. Then I added salt and the peanuts, let it go for a minute or two, and then poured it out into the pan. Perfect! Next time I think I will try adding rum or vanilla or cayanne or something.

      2. Peanut brittle is pretty much the only candy you can make in the microwave, and it comes out great---shocking yes I know. I don't have the recipe that I used, it was actually on the back of the pack of peanuts that I bought, this was back when I was in grad school, back when even a candy thermometer was out of my price range. The point is you can do it the hard way...sometimes it can be fun and a learning experience to do that, but there is a no-fail alternative if you're open minded. (and I find it even more fun to get away with something!---Oh, I spent hours making this really!)

        3 Replies
        1. re: Sally599

          I have had it, and it is delicious! I am sure there are recipes on the web when I get ready to try it. Why go to all the trouble of "scratch" when it is so easy in the microwave? Save the challenges for something else!

          1. re: Sally599

            I just made it in the microwave and it is so easy and tastes delicious. I have seriously never made anything that required so little effort for such a great end product. I think next time I may add more salt and finish it off with some coarse sea salt but this was so simple and tastes just like See's peanut brittle.

            Recipe I used from the internet:
            1 Cup of granulated sugar
            1/2 cup of light corn syrup
            1/8 tsp of kosher salt
            1 cups of Raw peanuts (must be raw it toasts in the microwave)
            1 tsp of butter (I used 1/2 a tblsp)
            1 tsp of baking soda
            1 tsp of vanilla extract

            Add first four ingredients in a a microwave safe dish (I used a 4 cup measuring cup). Microwave for 4 minutes and then stir and microwave for another 4 minutes. Add the butter and stir and microwave for another 2 minutes. Add the baking soda and vanilla (it will foam up) and stir until it is no longer foamy. Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out to make it thin.

            1. re: digkv

              I use a similar microwave recipe. Sometimes, when I only have roasted peanuts, I add them after the first 4-minute cooking time. This helps to prevent burning the roasted peanuts.

          2. A few thoughts.

            The sugar & corn syrup should be less prone to crystallization (at least according to Alton Brown), which would explain why those recipes called for stirring. It's a little bit easier, but as you noticed, it can taste a little funky because the corn syrup doesn't taste quite like sugar.

            Sugar only caramel is pretty prone to crystallization, as you learned. Sugar and water just gives you a chance to dissolve the sugar before it starts to caramelize. Something that I learned along the way (which isn't in any of my recipes) is that you want the sugar dissolved before it starts to boil.

            As for when to add the peanuts, I have enough trouble caramelizing sugar - the last thing I need is to have peanuts in the equation. I add 'em at the end.

            1. Can anyone tell me what purpose the baking soda serves? What's the science behind it? Or why one person adds cream of tartar? When I understand the reason why a recipe specifies an ingredient or method, it helps me know how to improvise.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pixellle

                I believe the cream of tartar helps to prevent crystalization, as it's a stablizer. The baking soda foams and helps give the brittle a more airy and porous texture. If you like that really flat brittle, don't add the soda. If you like a more puffy brittle, add the soda.

                1. re: pixellle

                  I don't know chemically what baking soda does, but it does make the brittle, brittle. The soda gives air and porous to the brittle and makes it easier to break and chew. If you don't add the soda, then I don't think it's peanut brittle, it's peanut parelene.

                  For the record, I don't use water and just let the sugar come to carmalization on its own, then the soda, then the peanuts. I have a recipe somewhere around here...

                  Note to Pixellle, don't make brittle if it's raining, you'll just get soggy brittle after a few hours, even if everything worked out.

                2. Well, I tried again. I used the sugar-only method, with one tablespoon of water to a cup of sugar. Based on carmel-popcorn recipes I've used, I added a knob of butter. I did not stir. I kept the heat low. I watched and waited.

                  The sugar did not seem to be melting. It achieved a sort of sludge state. I shook the pan occasionally. After 20 minutes, I could see some browning on the bottom, but most of the sugar was in a crusty layer in the pan. The heck with it. I added a bit more butter and started to stir. I broke up the crust with my wooden spoon. I mashed the lumps against the side. I turned up the heat. I stirred and mashed. Finally, to my surprise, the little sucker became smooth and golden brown. I added a bit of vanilla and spread my peanuts on on baking sheet with silpat, then poured the caramel over the nuts. Success!

                  But this business with the sugar getting all hard in a single-layer crust, not melting -- it that how it's supposed to be? Would it be any different if I used another kind of sugar, like light brown or muscavado or turbinado or organic?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pixellle

                    This is a very visual thing, so I cannot say with certainty what happened in your case. However, it sounds like the sugar had not completely dissolved in the water when it was on the heat. Make sure that all the sugar has been dissolved in the water (it will be a sludgy, smooth mixture). Then you can throw it on the heat. Shaking the pan was a fine idea. Where people often screw up is when they introduce undisolved sugar from teh side of the pan into the melting sugar mixture. Suddenly, everything crystallizes due to the introduction of that undissolved sugar. Alton Brown or Mr. McGee can explain why that happens, but I just know that it does happen.

                    In the future, you may consider adding some good sea salt. Reallly perks up the flavor.

                    1. re: pixellle

                      Hi, I was just about to post something about making brittle with just sugar. I have a recipe that calls for corn syrup and sugar, but I'm not a fan of corn syrup, so I was going to post asking whether I can substitute sugar for the corn syrup. Did you just substitute sugar for corn syrup 1:1? I'm making walnut brittle. There was a recipe in Cooking Light that looked intriguing. I've never made this stuff before. And you just used plain white sugar, not brown?

                      1. re: anzu

                        I just use plain white crystallized sugar, a tiny bit of cream of tartar, some butter, some water, some sea salt, and then the nuts. No brown sugar (I think you'd get pralines if you did that) and no corn sugar. I use four cups of white sugar, about 1/4 cup of water, about 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar, and then I let that dissolve a bit. Then I put that on the burner until it gets gooey and caramel in color. Then I turn off the heat, throw in the nuts and butter. Then I spread onto a baking sheet with edges, sprinkle with some sea salt, and then let it cool.

                    2. This is without a doubt the best peanut brittle recipe out there. No fail and delicious.

                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                      I'm sorry this doesn't answer your question, but thought I'd share. As a novice candy maker, this recipe has never failed me.

                      1. I made the one from "Sugar Pie and Jelly Roll."

                        I was actually glad to find a use for my bottle of corn syrup so I used it.

                        The baking soda causes it to foam up (the browned sugar is acidic) and provides a light texture; otherwise you'd have like a toffee.

                        Vanilla adds a nice, vanilla-y flavor. I'd say, go ahead and add it. Or not. Up to you. I did.

                        Mine had a small amount of butter and I received compliments for its fabulously buttery taste, so I would say that was a hit.

                        1. re: corn syrup...I try to avoid corn syrup, and frequently substitute honey for it - this works in toffee/peanut brittle too! Honey will burn, though, so watch it. i've been making cashew-honey toffee, I put the butter, sugar, honey, and water in the pan, stir occasionally at the beginning, then more frequently as it starts to color and approach temp. I go to 325F.

                          If you're caramelizing sugar without water, do it in a thin layer in a large pan, and tilt/shake the pan as needed to get it even. You can keep sprinkling on more sugar to melt, then you can see what is going on as opposed to having a deep layer in a saucepan.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: babette feasts

                            Thanks! I'll try honey. So another question-- I just bought one of those silpat silicone mat thingies. Has anyone tried making brittle with that instead of greasing the pan?

                            1. re: anzu

                              I used them before for brittles. They'll work fine.

                          2. So I tried this tonight, using this recipe on CH: http://www.chow.com/recipes/11287. The water content seemed too high, though, so I used proportions closer to what glutton listed below. However, I must've stirred too much, b/c it started to crystalize. At which point, I added more water and butter as someone above did. Eventually, it turned more brownish, but perhaps not brown enough. I poured it out on my pan, and the thing kept clumping, so I had a very hard time rolling it out thin. It is cooling as I write this. Anyway, I think unfortunately, this isn't gift-worthy, b/c it doesn't have that characteristic brittle sheen. It's more murky and turgid looking. And very lumpy. I'm not a huge fan of brittle, so I'll have to figure out what to do with this. Alas, my precious hazelnuts gone to waste. But I wonder, did I not keep it on the stove long enough to attain that sheen?

                            Also, post-brittle making, what is the easiest way to clean the pot? The sugar turned rock had within seconds. I will try to soak it.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: anzu

                              I hate cleaning thing with sugar stuck to it. I actually made brittle today and encountered the same problem. The best way is to add just plain water and bring the pot back up to a boil for a while and the sugar sort of softens and you can peel it off and the rest sort of dissolves in it.

                              1. re: anzu

                                I'm not sure if you're going to try again, but if you do, here are some tips.

                                I pour the water into my huge sautee pan (i.e. the biggest sautee pan I have and it's about 18" across). Then I pour the sugar over the water. Let that sit for a minute or two so that the water and sugar mix. Then turn on the heat. I usually start with a medium heat until all the sugar dissolves, then I turn it up to high. At this point, you pretty much let it sit there. Once or twice, I might take a spoon (that has been dipped in water) and redistribute the mixture from the sides, towards the center. I do that because sometimes the cooking is not as even as I'd like. I let mine sit on high heat for awhile (15 minutes? I cannot remember exactly) until the mixture goes brown. Once it is the color I want (I like dark amber), I turn off the heat, dump in the butter, nuts, and salt and mix everything up. Then I pour it onto a rimmed baking sheet. It's liquidy enough that I don't have to spread it out on the baking sheet -- it just does that on its own.

                                From your description, it sounds like you're stirring too much, you're not cooking it long enough, and you might be adding the butter too soon.

                                1. re: anzu

                                  Thanks to both of you for your suggestions. I just discovered a sort of "remedy" for messed up batches of brittle. I took the murky thick pieces of brittle and put them in the oven for a while (I hated the idea of wasting this batch), and they turned a golden caramel color and came out much better looking and tasting. Now they might be a bit overcooked, but I personally like the slightly overcooked caramelized taste. I love the salt, so thanks for suggesting that.

                                  I think now that I've been able to salvage this batch, I will now try again with the method patton described above, and with walnuts this time. And this time I won't stir, per your advice. I think with my first batch, I was nervous, b/c the sugar was bubbling furiously, so I didn't want to burn, but I will resist the temptation and not stir.

                                  1. re: anzu

                                    When you're working with sugar syrups, like with peanut brittle, its okay to stir in the beginning to make sure the sugar has completely dissolved in the water or whatever liquid you're using. But as soon as the syrup starts to boil, no more stirring- just get rid of the spoon, put in the dishwasher if you have to so you're not tempted. I find it also helps to put the lid on the pan for a minute or two once it starts boiling so the steam can wash down the sides of the pan, taking care of any crystallized sugar that may be stuck to the side. As soon as I take the lid off, I carefully insert my candy thermometer, which was hard to get use to, as I grew up with the idea the thermometer had to be in from the beginning & stirring constantly was almost mandatory. Funny how its so much easier to make candies now that I know the tricks and stopped going by the way I remembered-lol.

                                    As for the water content on the hazelnut recipe, don't worry about changing it, as the water boils out of the sugar syrup to give you the right proportion of sugar & water at certain temperatures. Being a novice candy makier, having a little extra time to judge what the color is as it turns amber is a good thing, as it can quickly go from being 'just right' to 'burnt sugar'. I would stick to using a heavy bottomed sauce pan- I like my 3 quart one for most candy making, as it has enough room for the sugar to boil & foam up (really important if you use a recipe with brown sugar, honey, or anything else with a lot of impurities). I'd also stick to keeping the burner on medium until the syrup boils and you've had the lid on for 1-2 minutes, then you can safely turn it up to medium high. Personally, I never put it up to the highest setting on my gas stove, because even with using a thermometer, I'm likely to miss my target temperature because its going up too fast, even worse if you're eyeballing the color of the syrup to to determine its done.

                                    Good luck with your walnut brittle!

                                    1. re: anniemax

                                      You guys are the greatest. Trial batch #2 (this time with walnuts) is cooling as I type this, so I can't say "success" for sure yet, but this time, I left the thing alone, as per annie and glutton's suggestion, and finally, it turned golden brownish. Well, ok, I left it alone for the most part, but somewhere mid-way, the sugar turned rock hard and completely crystalized. (Is it supposed to do that? B/c that is the point at which I said, damnit, I've failed again.) Last time, this is when I started stirring and put it off the stove before it turned completely solid. This time, I occassionally poked it to crack the solid mass, but for the most part, I left it alone. After a while, though, I was really surprised, b/c underneath the crystalized mass, I started to see brownish hues, so then I thought I have another chance. Sure enough, eventually, the crystals broke up and I had this brown mass, so I added the butter, nuts, cream of tartar and rolled it out, sprinkled salt, etc.

                                      The thing looks like the right color. If anything, I may have over-cooked it this time, since in the picture, the brittle looks opaque, and mine is totally translucent and darker-hued.

                                      Next time, I hope to actually have a candy thermometer, so I'm not just eyeballing this. :)

                                      I also stupidly burned my finger, but this time, I think it worked! Thank you both. Gosh, this board is so useful!

                                    2. re: anzu

                                      What temperature was your oven on? I have a batch that I would like to carmelize a bit more.

                                      1. re: taniab

                                        I think it was 350. I was able to save my brittle, but it still didn't quite taste like brittle. It didn't have the CO2 air bubbles, so it was a bit hard, but edible. :)

                                  2. Does anyone have a recipe that turns out like See's Peanut Brittle? Has anyone tasted See's? It has a lot of butter in it. The peanut brittle melts in your mouth rather than being so hard. And the butter is delious contrasted with the peanuts flavor.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Rhee

                                      Rhee, funny you should mention butter in peanut brittle. Here is my predicament: I have a recipe for brittle that calls for 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tablesp. corn syrup, and one stick of butter with the vanilla and peanuts. I got the recipe from an independent distributor of Demarle, the French company that makes the silpats,(they make a whole line of bakeware!) Anyway, she makes this brittle at the shows she does, she puts the sugar, corn syrup and butter in the pan and cooks it on med-med,high i remember, until it turns the lovely brown you all are talking about! The brittle is very very gooooood!!!!
                                      The only thing is, I don't have any corn syrup!! I am going to try it without and put the lid on the pan as stated above and see what happens.......will let you all know and will post recipe here:
                                      1/2 cup sugar
                                      1 Tbsp corn syrup
                                      1 stick butter
                                      1 teasp vanilla
                                      1 cup peanuts
                                      put first three ingredients in pan over med/med high heat, stir or don't stir while melting butter, then leave alone. cook until brown color take off heat and add the vanilla then the peanuts. put on silpat or sheetpan to cool.

                                      1. re: Rhee

                                        I would love the recipe for See's Peanut Brittle. It's the best I've ever had. Any luck getting it? Thanks.

                                        1. re: kjen

                                          this is not See's But it is Buttery I think you will love this!!!

                                          I think this will really help! It is a family recipe that I have used sense I was 1st tought bu my grandmother. For those who really want that old time good candy this is for you.

                                          2 cups sugar
                                          1/2 cup water
                                          1/8 tsp salt (optional )
                                          disolve in nonstick skillet (needs high sides on skillet)
                                          add
                                          1 cup of Karo ( Light corn syrup
                                          stir well and let it sit for 5 min or so. prepare 2 cookie sheets well buttered or sprayed with non stick spray.
                                          After mixture sets for a little while stir then turn on stove burner on medium low heat do not turn it up until it is as clear looking as you can get it.

                                          Now that it is clear turn heat to Hi heat as hot as you can. stir constantly. when it comes to a full boil let it boil at least a min. or so. then add

                                          1 lb bag of peanuts (raw or roasted) I prefer to buy raw and roast in oven on 350 for 20 min. can salt while roasting if you choose but will need to sift of loose salt before use.

                                          continue to cook on high heat stirring constantly. Yes the color will change but even that is not a good marker. the mixture will slowly get thicker and you will start to smell it but the true way to tell is at the 1st sign of a fry smoke. there will be a steam smoke all the way through but you watch close and you will see the difference. do not let it stay on heat because that is the exact change point that will change to a burnt candy.

                                          Remove from heat and add
                                          2 to 4 TBSP of butter. ( I melt my butterbefore. But do not cook it)
                                          1 tsp of vanilla

                                          Stir quickly and well. Place on heat at same time you add for 15 sec at most this combines the butter and vanilla better. Remove quickly and add

                                          2 tsp of baking soda and stir stir stir!!! quick and make sure it is all mixed. This will foam up and you will then see a definite color to your candy Pore 1/2 of mixture on each cookie sheet and quickly spread.

                                          It should cool and set up in about 20 min. you will enjoy this and it has that wonderful butter flavor. I can help more let me know at drpilant@hotmail.com

                                      2. its the wooden spoon causing the recrystalization. Use a silcon spatula.
                                        It is easier to use the sugar/water method - you'll have more control, as a previous poster said, mix the sugar & water together, insert the thermometer. Wash down the sides of the pan. Turn on the fire and let 'er go. I'm even wary of shaking the pan.
                                        Once it begins to color @ about 210, lightly swirl the pan to even it all out....Put don't use that woooden spoon.
                                        I use Lyle's golden syrup and the soda method becaus eI grew up on See's

                                        1. Sugar and corn syrup with the baking soda makes a lighter brittle. Fantastic with pecans.

                                          1. I have just finished making Great peanut brittle.. Please try it ...you will NOT go back to another .It made in the microwave! 1. Put a boiler on full of water have it simmering!
                                            2.IN a glass bowl put ..1c SUGAR, 1c. RAW PEANUTS, 1/2c. WHITE KARO. - REMOVE;stir good, cook for 4 MIN, REMOVE; stir,QUICKLY return and cook 4 MIN. REMOVE; add 1/2 t. VANILLA stir good ,return to micromave COOK 1MIN-35 SEC Remove; ADD 1t. SODA ., stir good [will be foamy] pour on foil THAT HAS BEEN SPRAYED WITH PAM . pour quickly sprayed lightly butnot much. let cool and break apart to the size you would like it to be, tore in air tight can or jar.
                                            Now take the Hot Water and pour in the glass bowl that this has been cooked in! let it sit soon it can be washed and is no problem, stir once in a while and then it;s ready to wash!
                                            Hope you will try this it is a WINNER any time of the year! bettie

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: bettie

                                              I just made "peanut" brittle myself. I buttered a cookie sheet, then spread a single layer of trail mix which had raisins, peanuts, m&m's, coconut, almonds and cashews directly on the sheet. After my candy was ready, I poured the mixture over the trail mix. When it slightly cooled I also put some caramel bits (found in the baking aisle) on top and tapped them in. Turned out pretty yummy!

                                            2. I always use 1 c. sugar, 1/2 c. corn syrup and 1/2 c water for the syrup. If you want to use this it is almost impossible to mess up as the water gives you a lot of time to prep anything else and makes it so you don't have to stir it at al or even shake it as others have suggested. I found a really neat trick about this too, if you do it with rapid heating (say a 9 or 10 on your stove) you can make brittle that is almost transluctent, which is a rather unique brittle color. Temperatures are the most important thing when it comes to brittle, it's a chemistry thing. More corn syrup leads to bigger bubbles and easier to overcook, I add 1 c. of raw peanuts and 1/2 t. salt at 234, cook to 305 (which rapidly rises, especially if you are on high heat.) Add 1 1/2 t butter and 1/2 t soda, mix quickly and pour into super greased cookie sheet. (no NOT use PAM) You have to stir constantly after adding the peanuts or they will burn and ruin your brittle, good luck.

                                              1. sounds like most people are making caramel, and then pouring it over nuts. for proper peanut brittle,you put the nuts in around when the mixture begins to boil.
                                                proper sugar-cure -- the old fashioned way of preserving peanuts.

                                                then the peanut brittle will taste like peanuts, mostly, and not like mostly sugar (ick!). ymmv.

                                                stir like a banshee.

                                                1. OK, I am new to this site and to making peanut brittle. I was not able to find peanut brittle this holiday, as I had in the past to buy, so I helped my mom make "her" recipe for it. It turned out great, we used the sugar/water/corn syrup recipe. However, when I got home, and used the recipe on the raw spanish peanuts bag, it didn't turn out quite right. The ingredients were all the same, just in a smaller amount on the bag, which is what I wanted to do. I just tried it again today, and after reading all these posts, I am more confused than before. LOL. To stir or not to stir, that seems to be the question. I am not getting the color right. I am using the raw spanish peanuts, once the temp reaches 240 on the thermometer, and according to my mom, you have to stir once the peanuts are added to keep them from sinking to the bottom and burning. I cooked for a while, not sure it took as long as the directions said to cook, no color. I removed the mixture from the stove at 295 degrees as per directions, but it just doesn't look right. It tastes ok, but it's lacking the color and "airyness". I saw one posting that should cook to 325 and another to 350?? Maybe I am not cooking it long enough or hot enough? If I do not add peanuts, can I still make the brittle?? I really like the brittle without peanuts, and I tried that with less peanuts, and it turned out the same as this batch. What if I used just the water and sugar method, without stirring, and use a lid as suggested for a few min. will that give me just the brittle? My candy thermometer broke with this last batch, so if I am "watching" it what color should it be? I know what it looks like at 295 and it's clear. LOL. I am thinking about trying without peanuts, but I thought the color came from the peanuts.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: cindybaer

                                                    I use the sugar and water mix -- no corn syrup. I don't use a thermometer, so I really don't know what temperature it reaches. I swirl the sugar in the water to make sure that everything is moist and then I let it sit there. If I do any stirring -- and I try not to -- I always dip the brush/spatula in water before inserting it into the sugar. This prevents the sudden crystallization of the sugar. The mixture sits in the sautee pan for a few minutes until it reaches a dark amber. You can pull it off at any point once it turns light amber -- it all depends on how caramelized you want your brittle to be. The texture will be roughly the same if you pull it off when it's light amber or when it is dark amber.

                                                    As for the light, airiness, I am not really sure what you are describing. Adding a bit of butter, along with the roasted nuts, helps with that a little bit, I guess. A little salt tends to help, too.

                                                    I know it's not terribly helpful when someone says they do everything by look and feel, so I apologize if my post is not terribly helpful to you.

                                                  2. I have only used the recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook because it turns out so well that I've stopped searching. It always gets compliments and requests for many years now.
                                                    I've used raw, unsalted and salted peanuts and it always turns out well. You have to stir continuously anyway to keep the nuts from burning in the final stages. Especially important if, like me, you can't resist throwing in an extra handful of nuts.

                                                    Tips I've learned throughout the years:

                                                    Keeping the cookie sheets warm in the oven helps. I just use oil spray to grease them; easier than butter.

                                                    A candy thermometer is a must; no guessing=less stress

                                                    Use a pot that is big enough because the mixture will swell significantly once you add the baking soda mixture.

                                                    Have all of your ingredients and your work space ready before you start so you aren't scrambling, again, less stress. I pre-mix the baking soda mixture as well and just give it a quick stir before I add it and I have the butter premeasured and ready. I put out a couple of cutting boards out on my kitchen counter to put the cookie sheets on once they come out of the oven.

                                                    Other than that, just follow the directions and don't worry about spreading the brittle out perfectly. Mine is usually free form and after you break it into pieces, no one can tell. Filling up the candy pot with warm water and letting soak for a while in the sink melts away whats left so no worries about how you will get it clean.

                                                    http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/p...

                                                    1. I think this will really help! It is a family recipe that I have used sense I was 1st tought bu my grandmother. For those who really want that old time good candy this is for you.

                                                      2 cups sugar
                                                      1/2 cup water
                                                      1/8 tsp salt (optional )
                                                      disolve in nonstick skillet (needs high sides on skillet)
                                                      add
                                                      1 cup of Karo ( Light corn syrup
                                                      stir well and let it sit for 5 min or so. prepare 2 cookie sheets well buttered or sprayed with non stick spray.
                                                      After mixture sets for a little while stir then turn on stove burner on medium low heat do not turn it up until it is as clear looking as you can get it.

                                                      Now that it is clear turn heat to Hi heat as hot as you can. stir constantly. when it comes to a full boil let it boil at least a min. or so. then add

                                                      1 lb bag of peanuts (raw or roasted) I prefer to buy raw and roast in oven on 350 for 20 min. can salt while roasting if you choose but will need to sift of loose salt before use.

                                                      continue to cook on high heat stirring constantly. Yes the color will change but even that is not a good marker. the mixture will slowly get thicker and you will start to smell it but the true way to tell is at the 1st sign of a fry smoke. there will be a steam smoke all the way through but you watch close and you will see the difference. do not let it stay on heat because that is the exact change point that will change to a burnt candy.

                                                      Remove from heat and add
                                                      2 to 4 TBSP of butter. ( I melt my butterbefore. But do not cook it)
                                                      1 tsp of vanilla

                                                      Stir quickly and well. Place on heat at same time you add for 15 sec at most this combines the butter and vanilla better. Remove quickly and add

                                                      2 tsp of baking soda and stir stir stir!!! quick and make sure it is all mixed. This will foam up and you will then see a definite color to your candy Pore 1/2 of mixture on each cookie sheet and quickly spread.

                                                      It should cool and set up in about 20 min. you will enjoy this and it has that wonderful butter flavor. I can help more let me know at drpilant@hotmail.com