In the event that you don't already have it marked on your calendar, tomorrow is National Peanut Brittle Day. No, I am not making that up. If you don't believe me, just visit the NCA web page (of course that's National Confectioners Association), and look at their "candy holiday" calendar for verification. I don't know why January 26th received this honor, and I'm not sure who is responsible for assigning these holidays, but in all honesty, I really don't need that much background information in order feel like celebrating candy! So, put on your best party apron and get the peanuts from the pantry. It Peanut Brittle Day Eve after all, and you've got a national holiday to prepare for.
I've been making this peanut brittle recipe for several years, and as a result, many of my friends are now hooked. There are certain friend who I don't need to ask what I can bring to their party because the answer will always be "Bring the brittle." This is a highly addictive candy. You start out just breaking off a little piece here and a little piece there, and the next thing you know, half of the bowl has mysteriously vanished. The wonderful combination of the salty peanuts with the sweet caramel is what draws people in. The addition of cinnamon just adds another subtle layer of flavor. This peanut brittle recipe makes quite a bit, so bring some to the neighbors and keep a stash for yourself. Have a happy holiday. Just think, only 20 shopping days left until National Gumdrop Day! Here are a few tips for making perfect peanut brittle:
- The peanut brittle should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, separated by pieces of waxed paper. It will last for up to two weeks, with the exception of extremely humid locations, where it should last for 4-5 days.
- If you don't have a candy thermometer, either use a different type of cooking thermometer(such as a meat or oil) or remove the saucepan from the heat when the mixture is a deep golden brown in color. This generally is an indication the the mixture has reached the correct stage.
- It is very important that you have all of your ingredients measured out and ready to go when making this recipe because you will need to add them all very quickly at the end. I like to keep them in small bowls off to the side, so I can just pick the ingredients up and add them as I need them. In cooking terms, having everything ready or "in its place" is referred to as "mise en place."
- There are several ways in which you can alter this recipe. Try substituting roasted, salted cashew or macadamia nut pieces for the peanuts. Instead of using 1 cup of corn syrup, you can use ⅔ cup corn syrup and ⅓ cup maple syrup, which will give the brittle a hint of maple flavoring. For an even stronger maple flavor, add ½ teaspoon maple extract when you add the butter to the mixture.
- Make sure that the peanuts you are using for this recipe are salted. The combination of the salty and the sweet flavors is part of what makes this recipe so irresistible.
Cinnamon Peanut Brittle
Makes about 30 pieces
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups roasted, salted peanuts
1 teaspoon baking soda
Lightly oil a large cookie sheet. Combine ½ cup water with the sugar, cream of tartar, and corn syrup in a medium heavy saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reached 340F degrees (hard crack stage). The color should be a deep golden brown.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly stir in the cinnamon with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Stir in the butter until it has melted, then add the peanuts and the baking soda, stirring vigorously to combine. Working quickly, pour the mixture onto the oiled pan and spread it with the back of the spoon/spatula, to about ¼ inch thickness. It might not cover the whole pan. Let the brittle harden, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Break the brittle into pieces.