A good way to take care of the crystals that form on the side of the walls of the pan is this: Keep a little bowl of water with your pastry brush in it. Instead of covering the pan (which most of the times means the water that drips down the walls through condensation is never even) every now and again just brush the TOP of the sides of the pans with the brush. The water that drips down is enough to solve the crystallisation problem. It's quick and easy and adaptable.
Peanut brittle is a v common snack with Indoniesians. You can also get it in Singapore, and it is usually comes with seseame seeds too. A very yummy snack!
You might also try rough chopping the nuts. Halfs or quarters work great, and lets you have a thinner, denser brittle.
Its a common snack in Malaysia too. And we also have a similar snack that is soft and chewy. It tastes great with sesame seeds. Goin to try this recipe soon. Can i omit the pepper?
Yes, the pepper can be safely omitted. It heightens the cinnamon flavor, but is not necessary.
I used to be one of the professional chocolatiers you mentioned, though I just called myself a candy man. We avoided crystallization, as well, by brusing down the sides of our kettle with a brush and some nice clean water. I saw the same Good Eats episode and tried Alton's lemon-lime jelly candies. I thought they were way too rubbery.
Because of the suggestions I added 65 grams of sesame seeds (no other changes), tastes great, very crunchy. I would definitely miss them, maybe you can go as high as 100 grams extra. It sets very quickly, so be sure to just turn it once or twice and pour.
Far easier recipies exist to make peanut brittle, using a microwave and karo syrup instead of the stove. Search on "Microwave Peanut Brittle" on google or the like.
So...it was a nice fall day. I decided to do something fall-y and try to make peanut brittle. I'd seen Alton Brown make a delicious-looking batch a few days ago on his Food Network show, Good Eats, so I printed his recipe from their website. Looked simple enough, and the recipe was rated only medium difficulty. His recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. On his show he said it "balanced the sweetness" or something, so I figured I'd give it a try. It took me 15 minutes of looking at the spices in the grocery store to find out that it's called a generic "Red Pepper" with a tiny little Cayenne on the label. Grrrr. Anyway, got home, got my sugar and water boiling and waited for it to turn a "light amber" color. Alton doesn't use candy thermometers. From now on, I will. When it looked a light amber-ish color, I mixed in the peanuts and poured it out onto the prepared, Alton-advised buttered wax paper. Within seconds I could see the nice peanut brittle brown color change to a waxy-looking white. Uh-oh. Went to sugar. Oh well, I thought. Sugar is sugar. Still edible. I broke (well, more like crumbled) a little chunk off the corner and tasted. And then ran for the fridge for water. A half teaspoon of red pepper suddenly seems like so much! I mean...candy that can burn your tastebuds off?! Bad idea. But my roommate likes spicy, so I broke off a chunk for him. But alas, Alton's ingenious advice to spread boiling hot candy onto buttered waxed paper failed miserably. (Noticing a pattern here, Alton?) The wax had melted away and into the candy, and the waxed paper could not be removed. At least not without a microscope, a pair of tweezers, and a lot of time and patience. So the whole batch went into the garbage, along with my hopes and dreams. So I'm searching for Alton Brown's email (he can expect a very strongly worded letter from me!) along with a better recipe for peanut brittle.
First problem. The foodtv website only includes the recipes, and not nearly enough of the explanation. http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/ publishes the full transcripts of each show, which is probably better.
Mr. Brown also has more experience than you cooking this stuff. Using a thermometer is hardly a crutch, and probably a really good idea if you're starting out (even if it's just the first time you try a recipe.)
Did he recommend wax paper or parchment paper? They aren't the same.
See here for an explanation of the two: http://www.baking911.com/pantry/list_kitchenstuff2.htm
Sounds like your sugar hadn't fully dissolved. Good chance a couple lingering crystals in there acted as a seed crystal, and the super-saturated sugar solution (woo! alliteration!) instantly crystallized on you. This is specificially the reason why Mr. Chu added corn syrup to his batch. It's a different type of sugar (fructose, I believe), and the incompatibilities in molecular shape help reduce the likelihood of all that sucrose lining up in the crystalline form it wants to.
Again, this is why you should stick with parchment paper (no wax) or a silpat mat.
I don't think it's public anymore. He used to have a contact form on his site, but that disappeared a few months ago.
I too tried the recipe out (in its original form) and ruined it. But to be honest, I didn't expect it to work on my first go-around. A little while after I removed the lid, I started noticing a little crystallization around the perimeter of the pan. I assume that was what ruined me, though it probably didn't help that I don't think my candy was really dark enough yet. It's pretty pale. Next time, I will try the pastry brush trick. I may not have made a brittle, but I still think it's delicious. And for the cost of more peanuts, I might as well try it until I get it right. :)
Update: I tried this recipe once again, but this time, I used the pastry-brush trick. It worked! Ah, the sweet, spicy, and sometimes cough-inducing taste of success...
Peanut brittle in India is made with jaggery/raw sugar/panela, whatever you may call it.
It makes the brittle lighter and imparts an earthy/nutty flavour that makes it much more tastier! Though I think setting points for raw sugar will be different than with refined sugar.
Recipe Correction: Add peanuts at 250 degrees F, not 350 degrees F. Also, you want to stop at 300-310 degrees F (Also called the Hard Crack).
This is a fast and easy way to make Peanut Brittle.
Microwave Peanut Brittle
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbs light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup raw, shelled peanuts
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
Spray cooking oil on a 9 x 12-inch cookie sheet. Set aside until needed.
Place sugar, corn syrup, salt and peanuts in a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup. Mix well with wooden spoon.
Microwave 4-minutes at 60% power.
Microwave 4-more minutes at 60% power.
Stir in butter and vanilla.
Microwave 1-minute at 60% power.
Add baking soda. Stir until mixture foams.
Pour onto cookie sheet and spread evenly over sheet.
When cool, break into pieces.
Recipe is for 1500-watt , turntable microwave. For 750-watt microwave, use same cooking times, but 100% power.
For easy clean up, soak measuring cup and wooden spoon in warm water. Stuck on sugar disolves after a few minutes.
I made this recipe following the show transcript and the wonderful above description, and it turned out great. I couldn't taste any actual heat from the pepper, but it did seem to have "something" that would have been missing had I omitted it.
To the above poster who's angry with Alton: Perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to blame the recipe when things don't turn out correctly?
WOW!!! OMG! I did it. Im in college and saw the show and wanted to try it. I had all the ingredients in my house. The only thing i didn't have was the cool cooking utensils, but i had my imagination and determination. AND IT WORKED!!! I didn't use the fancy plastic baking sheet. I used aluminum foil and smothered it in vegy oil, and i didn't have a silicone spatula but i had a metal spoon. And i did it....of course i over cooked the sugar the first time but 15 minutes after i dumped the bad batch in the back of my apartment, I had the real thing beautifully cooling in front of me. I feel awesome!!!
Good luck to all those beginners out there. You can do it!!
I did it 3 times and every single time it crystalized. Thats a lot of sugar, nuts, adn TIME to be wasting. I love alton, but I'm never trying this without corn syrup again.
The very easiest way to avoid the spattered side issue is to spray the coking vessel with pan spray before you begin the process...it doesn't change the outcome.
Seems to me to cover the pan is to add water to the mixture and therefore increase the cooking time you have to boil away the water to begin with.
If you don't have silicon tools, just spray the spoon or spatula you do have with pan spray before you spread out your brittle...you may want to have a couple ready to go because it will begin to stick to the first one.
There's a lot of flavor in the skins of the peanuts (and it's a different flavor), which is where the antioxidants are.
this is very similar to what we call Chikki ...a sweet treat in western india...readily available in Bombay/Mumbai...and also in indian stores here in the US...u can use jaggery...other kinds of sugar...or even some honey to mix in the syrup...for the nuts u can use cashews, almonds, seasme seeds instead or in combination with peanuts...u could try experimenting with different layers of thickness...and even try a mould that would make it look more like a hersheys bar...easier to break off without creating too many crumbles
LOVE this site! Just wanted to share that Mark Bittman in his Minimalist Gourmet column at New York Times website has a video where he makes peanut brittle. It was so devastatingly simple that I was inspired to try it even though I'd never made any kind of candy before. And it came out PERFECT! He just put sugar in a pan and heated it slowly till it melted (I used his "cheat" tip of adding a couple TBS water) and reached the desired color, then stirred in an equal amount of salted peanuts and poured it out on an ungreased cookie sheet to cool. I was amazed that this was so easy...which inspired me to make his caramel walnut tart for Thanksgiving (he has a video for this too) which was equally simple and really delicious. I'm planning to make your english toffee recipe next (for Christmas). I've discovered a whole new world of sweet treats! Thanks again for this wonderful site.
Sorry, but 350 for a brittle is way to much!
Brittle should not go past 300, and in most times it is best taken off the fire at 295!
FYI...If you just can't make it yourself Found a good site for all kinds of peanut brittle
This is unrelated to the peanut brittle discussion, but I think there's a typo in the second paragraph:
"Raw, blanched, or roasted all all good in brittle."
On a candy-related note, while I've been tempted by AB's recipe, I will probably try Bittman's instead. Since it doesn't take a lot of time and effort I'll be less disappointed if [when?] it fails / I mess up.
Thanks for the catch - I just fixed it.
Has anyone made peanut brittle using a combination of erythritol and Splenda? I have been successful one time without it crystallizing, but not since then. Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol (found in pears) that will brown nicely at higher temperatures, hence offering an option for folks who must severely limit their sugar intake. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I used Spicy Red Chile Powder that I purchased at a local Indian/Pakistani grocery store instead of the cayene pepper. It adds more flavor instead of just heat. It also opens up the cinamon and carmel flavor. As the brittle cools sprinkle coarse kosher salt evenly across. This is substituted for salting the peanuts. Salt is key with sweet items, think of pretzels and ice cream, It intensifies sweets. If you haven't visited one of these Indian grocery stores you should def put it on the list. You can find great spices for REALLY CHEAP! The quality of the spices is also very high compared to common supermarket brands like McCormics or Spice Islands.
I have been making peanut brittle now for holiday gifts. Did two batches today, and 1 last week. I have a great recipe (I've tried a few others, some that looked more similar to Alton's). It does use baking soda, but the result is a non-clear candy coating with lots of intrinsic peanut flavor as the nuts are mixed with the candy as it heats. First time I tried it (without seeing the recipe), I thought that peanut butter was somehow incorporated. This recipe is also pretty easy because of the water and corn syrup added that make it slower to carmelize at first (the sugar doesn't get super hot without first evaporating the water). Never had an issue with crystallization. I'm sure spices could easily be added either when adding the butter & peanuts, or at the end, instead of the vanilla.
Here it is:
Set aside in a small bowl:
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp water
1 tsp. vanilla
Set aside in another bowl:
1 lb. peanuts (I use roasted, salted, blanched)
3 tbsp. butter
Heat in a large, tall saucepan:
1 c. water
1 c. light corn syrup
1.5 c. sugar
Cook sugar, water, & corn syrup until temp reaches 140 F. on candy thermometer. The rapid bowl will have slowed a bit at this point. Hint of caramel color beginning.
Add peanuts and butter, and stir vigorously & continuously so it does not burn. Heat until temp reaches 300 F. I wear oven mitts to prevent bubbling sugar burns. Candy mixture will be foamy. When approaching temperature, color will be a medium light caramel. The mixture will look sticky, slightly stringy, and start to pull away from sides of the pot near the top of the mixture.
Take off heat, add soda/water/vanilla. Stir very vigorously, & be careful of it foaming. Spread in large buttered metal baking pan (no parchment/wax/silpat needed). Spread as thin as possible, about 1/4 inch.
Let cool until center of pan is no longer warm. To get out of pan, slightly flex metal pan, and candy will pop free.
I hate to call names, but watch me do it! READ the recipe, to those whom the name doofus fits. It is not waxed paper, it is not parchment paper, it is a silpat sheet. It is not 1/2 t. red pepper, it 1/4. So there. personally, I like the texture soda gives to a brittle recipe, not the dense texture in this recipe.
I followed the Joy of Cooking recipe for peanut brittle using a large can of Planters, brought it to just under crack stage (I was running out of time and had to leave the house), so I poured it into a Pyrex dish and put it outside in the cold. I brought it in later and was disappointed it was like hard taffy, so I put it in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes and then let it rest again outside. It set perfectly. Beginner's luck probably.