My mother is a peanut brittle fiend, and this recipe, which I made for her as a birthday present this year, is a variation of one that has been in the family for decades.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup (or maple syrup)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup unsalted butter (or margarine)
- 3-4 cups unsalted peanuts (or other mixed nuts)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla, pistachio, or maple extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Kosher salt or sea salt
Line two large cookie sheets with aluminum foil or silicone baking mats for easy cleanup.
Heat and stir sugar, syrup, and water in a large pot (at least 3-quart capacity) until the sugar dissolves. While the syrup boils, blend in butter or margarine.
Stir often once a candy thermometer reaches 230 degrees. Once it reaches 280 degrees, add your nut of choice and stir the mixture constantly to the hard crack stage (or when the mixture reaches 305 degrees).
Remove the mixture from the heat. Quickly stir in the extract and then the baking soda. Pour it onto the prepared cookie sheets.*
Let the brittle cool for a minute or two before sprinkling the surface with salt. Let cool completely before breaking into pieces; store in an airtight container.
Makes roughly 2-1/2 lbs.
*Some recipes suggest stretching the brittle thin by lifting and pulling it from the edges with forks, but this can alter the texture of the brittle – making it less airy in the process. Because I don’t want to disturb the air bubbles created by the baking soda, I just tilt the pan very carefully to encourage the brittle to stretch out a bit on its own.