One food that most everyone loves is peanuts. It's one of those foods that once you start munching on them, it's hard to stop! This also is true of peanut butter. I know of some who eat peanut butter straight out of the jar with a spoon. Both peanuts and peanut butter are good eating and they are also good sources of nutrition, with the main one being protein.
Peanuts are one nut that many people don't cook with very often. When it comes to nuts for baking, we tend to stick to pecans or walnuts. One treat that many people enjoy that uses peanuts is peanut brittle. While there are many recipes for this snack, we usually buy it instead of making it. Some evening or weekend when the children are home, gather them into the kitchen and try your hand at making "Elsie's Peanut Brittle".
This is a candy that is dark and full of peanut flavor. You'll begin by making a syrup out of water, dark brown sugar, light corn syrup, peanuts and salt. One tool that will come in handy will be a candy thermometer. If you don't have one, you can use the "cold water test" for checking the syrup. You'll want to cook this candy's syrup to 295 degrees, which is just below the "hard crack" stage. When you drop a small amount into a cup of cold water, the mixture will immediately harden to a hard mass, which is what you'll want the mixture to do. Once this stage is reached, you'll add butter and baking soda. And yes, that IS one ingredient you'll use in peanut brittle! This causes the mixture to become foamy. The mixture is immediately poured onto two buttered cookie sheets and cooled. When it's cooled, you can crack it into irregular pieces, and it's ready to be enjoyed.
One thing that helps in making good peanut brittle is speed. Have your cookie sheets buttered and ready and your ingredients set out. Once you have the brittle mixture ready, you'll need to work quickly in stirring in the butter and baking soda and then getting it into the pans. If you work slowly, this can cause the syrup to harden before you get it to the cookie sheets, so work fast! Your speed will pay off in some good candy!
If you prefer some homemade fudge instead of something with peanuts, I shared a failure-proof fudge recipe sometime back. The recipe for "Five-Minute Fudge" can be found by following this link:
If you've not had any good peanut brittle in a while, this would be a fun project to do with the young people in your home. Gather them together and make this sweet, crunchy treat!
ELSIE'S PEANUT BRITTLE
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup, such as Karo
- 2 cups dry roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons soft butter
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Butter two cookie sheets and set aside. In a medium heavy saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add the corn syrup, peanuts and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring often to avoid scorching to 295 degrees on the candy thermometer or just below the hard crack stage (if no candy thermometer is available, drop a small amount of the mixture into a cup of cold water. If the mixture hardens into a hard ball immediately, it's ready.)
When the temperature has been reached, remove from heat. Quickly, but gently, stir in the butter and baking soda. Immediately pour out onto cookie sheets, spread thinly with a rubber spatula. Cool completely and crack into irregular sized pieces. Store covered.