After spending the weekend painting and re-carpeting our house, and with British inlaws arriving next week, I knew Project Pastry had to be quick and easy this weekend.
Still on the confectionery list are things like Turkish Delight, caramels, fudge and noutagine but peanut brittle jumped out at me and I’m grateful for the decision.
This was the simplest recipe so far, and is something impressive I can share with my vegetarian (read no gelatin) inlaws.
I used Michel Suas’ recipe but looked at lots on the internet as preparation. Most called for sugar and peanuts as a base, but then there were combinations including vanilla, butter, and baking soda.
Michel Suas explains that peanut brittle is a noncrystalline confection which means that there is a lack of crystal formation during the cooking process.
You inhibit this crystal formation by using a few tricks:
- Adding an invert sugar such as glucose, corn syrup or honey
- Adding an acid like lemon juice, tartaric acid or cream of tartar
- Preventing “seeding” by brushing down the sides of your pan with a clean, wet brush to ensure sugar crystals don’t form
The baking soda in the recipe was surprising to me, because I’d always seen brittle as being glass-like but stirring in the baking soda caused the sugar to foam like a honeycomb.
This meant that the brittle was easier to eat and didn’t feel like you were going to crack your teeth in two.
I’d love to try out some more flavour combinations with different nuts and seeds, as well as incorporate the brittle into other dishes like ice cream.
Peanut Brittle (adapted from Michel Suas)
150g glucose syrup
1/3 cup water
370g peanuts (I used salted)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter
½ tsp salt (I didn’t include because I used salted peanuts)
Cook the sugar, glucose and water to 138C.
Add the peanuts, and cook until golden brown and temperature reaches 155C. Keep stirring the mixture so that the peanuts don’t catch on the bottom of the pan and scorch.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla and soda. The mixture will expand and foam a little.
Stir well and pour out onto a lightly greased silicon mat.
Leave to cool for at least and hour.