Monday, December 3, 2012

Peanut Brittle Tradition

The holiday season is always a time for baking and candy making at my folks house.  This year I got to help Mom make some peanut brittle.  I managed to not burn myself by pouring molten sugar and nuts down my leg and it ended up tasting great as well.  A win, win!

Here's Mom's recipe.

2 cups of raw peanuts, with skins on
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of Karo syrup
1 tsp of baking soda

Before you start cover a cookie sheet with foil and grease it with butter.  You need to do this first so its ready for the molten (straight out of a volcano) sugar and peanuts that will arrive shortly.

Mom uses a well seasoned cast iron skillet and we assume other pans work as well and might even be easier than lifting the heavy skillet, but the danger is part of the fun ; )

You add the peanuts,sugar and syrup in the skillet and heat on medium heat stirring all the time to keep from burning the nuts.  Once it has started to boil, you cook it for 16 minutes.  The sugar and syrup will turn a carmelly brown and you'll smell the peanuts roasting. Keep an eye on it as you stir as you don't want it to get too brown.  Once your timer dings sprinkle the baking soda over it and mix it in.  It will foam up and fear will creep in but you can do it.  You move with your molten hot iron over to the waiting cookie sheet.  engage your arm muscles and pour the screaming hot sugar and peanuts onto the cookie sheet. Find a place to set down the skillet quickly and then spread the brittle out with authority so the peanuts are in one layer.  Once that's done tap the cookie sheet on the counter (have pot holders under it) carefully because its hot.  This will release any air bubbles.  Then you wait.  If the you've cooked it for long enough, if its not too humid, if you didn't cook it too long, if you didn't suffer 3rd degree burns, after its cooled, you'll break it up.

You prepare yourself for the ultimate test.  Pop a golden brown bit of deliciousness into your mouth.  The candy is crunchy, sweet, melt in your mouth goodness and the roasted peanuts add that salty edge.  You allow yourself a small piece.  The pretty pieces will go in gift boxes and bags for friends and family.  The stray bits are gathered up and shared amongst the cooks.

Another holiday season is launched successfully.  Thanks Mom