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15-minute pareve peanut brittle? Yes, you can!

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Looking for a quick-and-easy dessert recipe but you don’t have much time?

All you need is some nuts plenty of white sugar, corn syrup* and a thermometer.  And that, plus maybe 15 minutes, is just about all you need!

*If you’re in Israel, where corn syrup is hard to get, you can make your own invert sugar syrup instead.

Shh… let me tell you a secret:  I don’t like peanuts, so I always make this with almonds instead. 

I toast them in the oven ahead of time, because it really helps intensify the flavour.  No salt or oil; just almonds in a tinfoil pan.  Toasting won’t bring back rancid almonds, but it can perk up the ones that taste like they’ve been on a supermarket shelf in a plastic container for a bit too long.  I also cut the almonds in half, because a whole almond is overwhelming in brittle.

NOTE:  Measure all the ingredients before you start! 

As with other types of candy-making, things move pretty quickly once you reach your target temperature.  Also, forget about the “drop” method – hard ball, soft crack, and whatnot - or any other you’ve read about for checking the temperature – just use a thermometer!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (or homemade invert sugar syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup peanuts (or any other nuts)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened (I use coconut oil, but margarine would work, too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

How to make it:

  1. Line a large cookie sheet with tinfoil and spray it with spray oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy pot (I use my little pareve dutch oven), over medium heat, boil sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Stir in nuts.
  4. Using a candy thermometer, keep on cooking, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Immediately… stir in butter/margarine/oil, vanilla (optional) and baking soda.  It will foam up when you add the baking soda; this is why you used a large pot.
  7. Pour the sugar mixture out onto the waiting cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and pull the mixture into a rough rectangular shape (if you can).
  8. Allow to cool.
  9. Snap or hammer your finished candy into delicious bite-sized pieces.

DSC03634If you did the temperature right, it WILL set rock-hard, 100% of the time (though I cannot vouch for different elevations because I know high altitude does messy things with temperatures and food chemistry). 

Store your brittle in a plastic bag for long-term or gift-giving, but it didn’t last that long around here…

Because you use baking soda, the candy is “lighter” (ie easier to bite into) than most homemade hard candy.  It also gives the finished brittle a lighter, creamy appearance, which is matched by the small amount of fat in the form of butter or coconut oil (or margarine, if you must).

Like praline pecans, brittle is a nice addition (made ahead of time and broken up into teeny weeny pieces) to a “premium” pareve homemade ice cream, or just crumbled over top at serving time. 

You know, if you ever had some to spare… which, around here, we probably never would.

[upper brittle photo credit:  Janet Hudson via Wikimedia]

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה


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