My mother was the easiest person to buy for. All it took was a pound and a half of Mary See’s peanut brittle to make her happy. No one ever thought about trying to make peanut brittle. The standard had been established and any attempt to make our own could only meet with failure.
That was until I happened to ask a young lady from Vaughn for a date and she suggested we spend a couple of hours making peanut brittle. She showed up at my house with all the ingredients. All I had to do was turn on the stove and produce a heavy bottomed pan. When I turned on the stove, nothing happened. I was out of propane. I have a 400-gallon tank, but we had been in the house for 30 years. It just picked a bad night to run out. We ended up at her house and before I knew it, we had peanut brittle. When I tried it, it was very good, but not being the ultimate judge of the product, I took some to my mother and offered it to her. Her comment was, “That’s better than See’s.” Bingo!
That was probably 15 years ago. The lady doesn’t come around anymore, but every year friends and neighbors anxiously await their peanut brittle. My favorite recipient is my dentist.
I always put a bit extra in the office Christmas package. The recipe is really quite simple. You’ll need a candy thermometer and a heavy-bottomed pan. I use a steep-sided skillet that Costco sells from time to time. After deciding it was the perfect brittle-making vessel, I went back and bought a second one to have in reserve.
3 cups sugar
1 cup white Karo syrup
½ cup water
3 cups salted peanuts
2 teaspoons soda
In a sauce pan, over medium heat cook sugar, Karo and water. Cook until sugar dissolves and the mix boils. Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 280 degrees on candy thermometer.
Gradually stir in salted peanuts; I use dry roasted. Keep mix boiling, stir often, watch closely until it reaches 300 degrees.
Remove from heat and add 2 teaspoons soda. Stir in gently but quickly. Pour at once on 2 large, well buttered cookie sheets. Cool. Break into pieces. Makes 2½ pounds.
Since my fiancée is allergic to peanuts, I’ve started using cashews and occasionally pistachios in the same proportions as peanuts. Be careful, though. If you spread it around too much, you’ll be expected to deliver it forever.