Peanut brittle was a kind of candies we at all times had round the home after I was child as a result of my dad was obsessive about it. Although I might sneak a chew of it every so often (I used to be extra of a chocolate man than a peanut brittle man), my dad would nibble on it almost each evening after dinner as we watched TV and serve it every time it was our time to host “bridge membership” along with his mates.
However after all, it seems that peanut brittle has a historical past that goes a lot farther again than the mid-1980s.
THE HISTORY OF PEANUT BRITTLE
Stella Parks, in her cookbook BraveTart, says one of many earliest peanut brittle recipes dates to 1843 from a Philadelphia lady named Deborah Fisher who offered “the Authentic Pea or Groundnut Sweet” in her eightth avenue store. Recipes for peanut brittle advanced utilizing molasses as an ingredient, and the Boston cookbook The Artwork of Confectionery mentions including baking soda “to render it tender.”
Different tales on the Web say that peanut brittle was a Southern invention, made by an unknown lady in 1890 who by accident used baking soda as a substitute of cream of tartar when making an attempt to make taffy. Its recognition is commonly related to the American south—a lot of the nation’s peanut farms are positioned in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.
HOW TO MAKE PEANUT BRITTLE
Home made brittle is definitely pretty simple. Begin by inserting sugar, corn syrup, and water in a big saucepan and heating it to make a caramel—which occurs when sugar is heated to a selected temperature, melts and begins to decompose.
As soon as the caramel is prepared, add baking soda (see beneath for why!), after which the peanuts. Pour your complete combination onto a pan and unfold out it whereas it’s nonetheless liquid (and scorching).
Because the sweet cools, it hardens and turns into brittle. As soon as completely cooled, it may be damaged into smaller items to get pleasure from!
The Function of Baking Soda
The introduction of baking soda to the molten caramel is what differentiates brittle from customary arduous caramel sweet.
The baking soda reacts with the caramel in its liquid state, aerating it and producing tiny pockets of air because it cools and solidifies. This leads to a deal with that’s, effectively, brittle in nature.
DO YOU REALLY NEED CORN SYRUP?
This peanut brittle particularly makes use of corn syrup to make maintain it easy and maintain the sugar from crystalizing. Typically, making caramel could be a scary factor, not solely since you’re cooking over direct warmth (which may doubtlessly trigger the sugar to burn) but additionally as a result of caramel sweet can generally develop a gritty graininess.
Grittiness can occur when a stray sugar crystal doesn’t soften correctly or is launched whereas the caramel is cooking. The stray crystal causes the encircling sugar to crystallize, ensuing that gritty texture as soon as the caramel has cooled.
The water added initially to the pot helps dissolve all of the sugar to cut back this danger, whereas corn syrup interferes with crystals forming as effectively. These two issues mixed will guarantee you may have a easy caramel.
I don’t advocate substituting honey, molasses or agave for the corn syrup. These different liquid sugars have impurities that can burn on the larger temperature of creating caramel, resulting in a bitter tasting brittle.
WHEN (AND WHEN NOT) TO STIR THE CARAMEL
Be certain stir the combination at first of cooking to dissolve all of the sugar. Nevertheless, do NOT stir the caramel combination as soon as the butter and sugar have dissolved (in the event you stir it after the water has boiled off, you could possibly create graininess).
If you’re involved about whether or not or not the caramel is cooking evenly, simply swirl the pan somewhat bit to stir it. However don’t use a spoon or any utensil.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN THE BRITTLE IS READY
Utilizing a sweet thermometer is really helpful — prepare dinner it to 340°F. However in the event you don’t have one, don’t let that cease you from making peanut brittle!
You wish to prepare dinner the molten sugar till it reaches the colour of an older penny.
You could have somewhat leeway on the temperature, however in case you are counting on coloration alone, I’d advocate cooking the sugar at a decrease warmth. It’s going to take longer however you’ll have extra of a cushion with the timing; you don’t need the caramel to burn and grow to be bitter.
SUGGESTIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS FOR PEANUT BRITTLE
Peanut brittle is a simple sweet recipe to adapt to your personal style. Be at liberty to substitute a unique kind of nut, corresponding to pistachio or hazelnut, for the peanuts. Simply chop the nuts to the dimensions of peanuts if they’re massive.
You can even dip the cooled and damaged brittle into melted chocolate in the event you like!
STORING AND FREEZING PEANUT BRITTLE
Retailer the peanut brittle in a zip-topped bag or an hermetic container. Humidity and moisture are its enemy, so maintain it as hermetic as attainable. You can even layer the brittle between parchment or wax paper so it doesn’t stick collectively. So long as you retain the brittle in an hermetic container, it ought to final for as much as three weeks.
You may freeze it for longer storage (as much as three months) in an hermetic container.
MORE HOLIDAY TREATS TO TRY!
Up to date December 2, 2019 : We spiffed up this put up to make it sparkle! No modifications to the unique recipe.