Category: Candy

Homemade Peanut Brittle

March 17, 2009


(Is it just me, or does this piece of brittle look like a reversed Minnesota?)

When I made the Peanut Brittle Caramel Crunch Ice Cream Pie the other night, I opted to make my own peanut brittle. This was partly because I feel compelled to do such things, partly because I wanted to have some left over, and partly because this recipe is so incredibly easy.

It may not be traditional, but it is fast and the results are incredible. I have no idea where I got this recipe – all I know is that I copied it out of one of my mom’s recipe books after eating it at her house. All you need is a bowl, a spoon, a baking sheet, and a microwave. Oh, and an oven mitt. You’ll definitely want one of those.

Peanut Brittle
Makes about 1 pound

1 1/2 cups unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda, measured into a small bowl

Butter or spray baking sheet. In microwave-proof bowl, combine peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Microwave on high until mixture bubbles vigorously, about 6 minutes. Using and oven mitt, remove mixture and stir in vanilla and butter. Return to microwave for another 2 minutes. Again using oven mitt, remove bowl from microwave. Working quickly, add baking soda to candy and stir briskly – mixture will foam. Immediately pour onto prepared sheet and spread as thinly as possible with the back of the mixing spoon or a spatula. Let stand until cool, 30-45 minutes. Break into pieces.

Toffee, Not Coffee

September 5, 2008

My husband Randy doesn’t drink coffee. Not only does he not drink it, he doesn’t like it. In case you are wondering, you are allowed to live in Seattle if you don’t like coffee, but you have to plead your case in front of a jury.

To add insult to injury, he doesn’t like coffee flavored things – so things like Mud Pie and Tiramisu are out. (However, we ordered a sky high slice of Mud Pie at the Pioneer Saloon in Sun Valley and I noticed that he ate his share. Hmmmmm.)

I know, between the beets and the coffee, it’s a wonder I married him. He does have many redeeming qualities, one of which being that he is very smart. I mean, really smart. Like has two master’s degrees, one of which from that school back East that starts with an “H”. So it really tickled me when I offered him some of this amazing toffee the other day. He said he didn’t like toffee. I said, “It’s basically hardened caramel, peanuts, and chocolate – what’s not to like?” After careful consideration he said, “I think I think I don’t like it because toffee rhymes with coffee.” OK, Mr. Mensa, glad we cleared that up. As my (blond) neighbor Deb said, “That is such a blond comment!”

After a taste, I was unable to keep his hand out of the bag. For you coffee haters out there, don’t discriminate against delicious things that rhyme with your hatred! This toffee is easy, decadent enough for a dinner party, and it makes a ton – and keeps well. Hup to!

Chocolate Peanut Toffee
Makes about 3 pounds

I was unable to fit this pan in my freezer, so I put it in the fridge for about 2 hours. It hardened just fine.

4 sticks (1lb) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

4 cups whole cocktail peanuts, plus 1 cup chopped (1 lb. 10 oz.)

8 oz. 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Equipment: a 15 by 10 by 1 inch baking pan (also called a jelly roll pan), a candy thermometer, a metal offset spatula

Butter baking pan and put on a heatproof surface.

Bring butter, sugar, and salt to a boil in a 4-5 quart heavy pot over medium-high heat, whisking until smooth, then boil, stirring occasionally, until mixture is deep golden and registers 300 degrees on thermometer, 15-20 minutes.

Immediately stir in whole peanuts, then carefully pour hot toffee into center of baking pan. Spread with spatula, smoothing top, and let stand 1 minute, then immediately sprinkle chocolate on top. Let stand until chocolate is melted, 4-5 minutes, then spread over toffee with cleaned spatula. Sprinkle evenly with chopped peanuts, then freeze until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. Break into pieces.

Toffee keeps in an airtight container at room temperature for two weeks.