While I love peanut brittle, most recipes include baking soda, which really ruins it for me. In theory, it’s a good idea, the baking soda adds some air to the caramelized sugar, making the sheets of candy more brittle, but it also introduces a minerally, metallic taste that’s off putting to say the least.
My version of peanut brittle is ridiculously simple to make, and leaves out the baking soda. Because it doesn’t have the leavening, it tends to be a little harder when fresh, but leave it in a sealed container for a week and you’ll have a brittle that’s just as delicate as one made with baking soda, minus the unpleasant taste.
In case you’re wondering, you can do this without corn syrup, but I would recommend including some kind of invert sugar (such as honey) because granulated sugar (sucrose) has a tendency to crystallize unless you introduce some other sugars into the mix. If the mixture does end up crystallizing, just leave out the butter and add the vanilla and you’ll have candied peanuts instead of brittle.
This recipe leaves out baking soda for a sweeter taste. If the candy gets too hard, leave it in a sealed container for a week to get a delicate, brittle quality.
(Recipe Courtesy: Marc Matsumoto from the Fresh Tastes Blog)
- 1 cup peanuts, unroasted, unsalted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup (or other invert sugar)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Add the peanuts, sugar, corn syrup and water to a heavy bottomed pot and heat over medium-high heat.
- Heat, stirring constantly until the sugar and peanuts are a caramel brown.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract, stirring until the butter is fully incorporated.
- Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, and spread it out so there are no mounds of peanuts.
- Let this cool completely and then sprinkle with the salt.
- Break up the peanut brittle, and store it in an airtight container.
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.