Peanut brittle is a classic holiday candy that has been beloved for generations. Crisp and nutty, this candy is found on millions of cookie and candy platters around America during the month of December.
Surprisingly, some say this candy was created by accident. In 1890 a Southern woman who intended to make taffy, mistakenly added baking soda to the recipe, instead of cream of tartar. Rather than waste the ingredients, she decided to continue cooking them and discovered that the result was a delicious nutty treat that could be broken into crunchy, tasty pieces.
By 1892, the recipe for peanut brittle began appearing in print in cookbooks across the United States. Others say that nut brittle candies have been around since the Celtic times, when the Celts covered peanuts with molasses or honey and baked them.
No matter the origin, people have obviously known for a long time how delicious the combination of nuts and sugar can be!
Our peanut brittle is full of that same homemade flavor and delicious crunch. We embed lots of nuts into a crunchy sugar candy, creating a treat that is a delicious combination of both salty and sweet. It may take a little extra time to make, but the taste is far superior to store-bought varieties, and well worth the effort.
You can also customize your brittle by adding other nuts, like almonds, cashews, pecans, or even mixed nuts.
Brittle candy is also enjoyed in the Middle east and Asia, where they add pistachios or sesame seeds. Anything goes, really! And if you decide to make this treat during the year, don’t forget that January 26th is National Peanut Brittle day. It’s not just good at Christmas; it’s great all year long! This old-fashioned treat is fun to make and eat, and is sure to become a holiday tradition in your family, too!
18-20-inch marble slab, or an inverted baking sheet
Pair of rubber gloves
Place the marble slab, or inverted baking sheet, on the work space. Generously brush oil over the entire surface of the marble slab, or inverted baking sheet.
In a small bowl, sift together the baking soda and salt.
In a 4-quart, deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar. Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Once the mixture is clear and begins to boil, increase the heat to high and stop stirring.
Place a candy thermometer in the mixture holding it with a mitt to protect your hand. Cook until the syrup registers 265°F on the thermometer, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the nuts and gently stir to incorporate.
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches the hard-crack stage, 305° to 310°F, about 5 minutes longer.
Immediately remove the pan from the heat.
Stir in the softened butter, the vanilla extract, and then the baking soda and salt. The mixture will soon start to foam.
Stir just until the mixture foams evenly and immediately pour it onto the oiled marble slab, or inverted baking tray.
The mixture should spread to about 14 inches in diameter.
Slip the oiled spatula under the hot candy to loosen the edges and bottom.
Put on the gloves and as soon as the candy is firm enough on the bottom to be picked up (the top won’t be hard yet), lift the edges and turn the entire piece of brittle over. With gloved hands, stretch the brittle to extend it so it’s as thin as you can get it, about 17 inches in diameter.
Allow the candy cool undisturbed for at least 1 hour and then break it into small pieces.
Store the brittle in airtight containers.
Note: Peanut Brittle can be held for up to 10 days.