This autumn has been interesting. I’ve changed jobs, had a blog hiccup, and have a lot of unanswered email in my inbox. On the flip side, I’ve cultivated friendships, read some amazing books and made a triumphant return to cooking. But I’ve known for a while that it wouldn’t be in my budget to get gifts for everyone on my list. Instead, I resolved to go the baked goods route for those lovely friends.
I’ve made up little confectioner’s bags of Christmas Fudge and this new (to me) recipe of Peanut Walnut Brittle – and I have to say that they’ll be perfectly sweet holiday treats. In the interest of full disclosure: I was scared to attempt the brittle. I’ve never done candy or anything (aside from fudge) that required a candy thermometer. Luckily, this is a simple, straight-forward recipe. If you have all of the ingredients ready to go beforehand, you should be just fine. At least, I was. Yay!
Peanut Walnut Brittle (adapted from this recipe)
peanut walnut brittle on the right. also in process: peppermint bark!
1 cup white (granulated) sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup nuts (half cup peanuts and half cup walnuts)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
right after we'd poured the brittle into the pan
Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.
In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in nuts. Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.
my friend Greta takes a turn breaking up the peanut brittle with a wax paper-covered hammer
Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With wooden fork, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14x12 inches; cool. Snap candy into pieces.
I tripled this recipe and didn’t have any problems, although I waited a bit longer than the recipe called for to add in the nuts. If you DO triple the recipe, have two cookie sheets ready to go – it’ll fill them right up. OH! And most useful tip ever: have boiling water ready to pour into your cooking pot right after you finish with it. Makes cleanup about a thousand times simpler. Store in an airtight container for up to a month!
Recommended for: a not-too-sweet holiday staple, a versatile snack, and a challenge for anyone who wants to wander on the adventurous side of Christmas baking.