Peanut Brittle

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So right off the bat, I’ll admit it. Even though this is a baking blog, I did not bake peanut brittle. It’s just not how it’s made. However, I did make peanut brittle. But why? Well I was looking at making a pie, and I was trying to include nuts in it. It was all part of this great dessert plan I had, which I’ll tell you about soon.

Well, I found a recipe that looked kinda awesome, and it had peanut brittle in the crust. No you’re not imagining that: peanut brittle in the crust. It sounds just as awesome to me as it does to you. I thought I might make it, but there was a slight problem. I didn’t know how to make peanut brittle. I eventually decided to make another pie for that project, one that didn’t require peanut brittle at all. But I thought it might be fun to make it anyway. I wanted to see if I could do it just for the heck of it. And, of course, just in case I did want to use it for something someday: crust, topping, whatever.

I found lots of recipes for peanut brittle, but they mostly required having a candy thermometer. At the time I did not have one, so I went looking for a recipe that didn’t require one. I found a bunch which were like “cook until x degrees or when a bit of it dropped in cold water can be taken out and rolled into a smooshy ball” or something. Let me just say that I have lots of respect for people who make candy that way. It’s easy to read a thermometer, it’s much harder to tell the temperature of something using these kinds of tests.

I had a gut feeling that there had to be an easier way, so I kept looking. Eventually, I found a recipe that had microwave instructions. It was so easy, it almost seemed like cheating. There was still some work to do: mixing, cooking, spreading, etc. But it seemed a little too easy. And in fact, it was pretty easy. It’s one of the easier recipes I’ve made. If you read the recipe linked at the end of the post, you’ll see what I mean.

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I didn’t have a jelly roll pan, so I used a regular baking sheet. I ended up putting parchment paper on the baking sheet and putting cooking spray on it. It was much easier to cleanup than putting it right on the baking sheet would have been. And using cooking spray was, naturally, easier than buttering it. But I think doing it that way did make it a little bit harder to spread than it might have been otherwise.

I think I didn’t spread it fast enough, as it could have been a little thinner. Re-reading the instructions now, I also think I forgot to shake it to help spread it. It didn’t nearly use up the whole pan (not sure if it was supposed to). It didn’t seem like it made that much. I wasn’t sure how much to expect though, as I had never made it before. It was mostly solid, but still a little mushy. I put it in the fridge to cool, then broke it when I took it out as directed.

Cleanup seemed a little daunting. Before cooling, the peanut brittle was goopy and sticky. What bits were left of the mixture adhered very quickly to the glass bowl that I had microwaved it in. For a moment I thought that if I let it harden I could scrape it off, but that didn’t work. So I let it soak in hot soapy water and just hoped for the best. And whattya know, it worked. It came right off after soaking for a little while.

20141005_142536And now to the important part. How did it taste? I thought it tasted pretty good, but I wanted to get reviews from others. I shouldn’t have been concerned. They liked it, they really liked it! One friend in particular kept coming back for more.

When I shared it with people, I also tried to explain how easy it was, as it didn’t seem right to take credit for it. But they were having none of it. They were impressed that I had made peanut brittle, and they didn’t quite care about the details. I told them I could explain what was in it and how easy it was to make. But they didn’t want to know “how the sausage was made”. The sausage, of course, being peanut brittle. (I have to admit, that’s one of the stranger sentences I’ve typed.)

So give it a shot. If you’re hankering for peanut brittle, you’ve got nothing to lose. By the way, if you have another recipe for peanut brittle, I’d love to check it out. Or if you ever made something really simple that amazed everyone, I’d love to hear about that. Let me know in the comments below!

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Recipe courtesy of MyRecipes.com.

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