Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: candy thermometer

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle!!
This thick and crunchy peanut brittle just melts in your mouth, and it’s one of our family’s favorite Christmas treats!

This is the best peanut brittle I’ve ever had.  My wonderful Aunt Beth has brought it to our family Christmas celebrations since I was just a tiny girl.  I remember being SO full after dinner and no matter how full I got,  I always had to have a piece of Aunt Beth’s peanut brittle.  I have vivid memories of opening presents one-handed because I had peanut brittle in the other hand.  It is THAT GOOD.

Aunt Beth

Aunt Beth and Uncle Keith

I think what makes it perfect is that it isn’t really hard to bite into or a “teeth-stuck-together” kind of candy.  It just kind of melts in your mouth…and oh my….

I’d never made it, because there has always been this aura of “impossibly difficult recipe” surrounding it.  First of all, you need a candy thermometer and I think that discourages many a would-be peanut brittle maker.  Second, it takes some stirring time over a hot stove.  This isn’t a quick recipe- but it is so sooooooo worth it!

Aunt Beth issued two warnings to me when I embarked on the mission to try her recipe:

1.  Once you add the peanuts you have to stir constantly or the brittle will burn.

2. Be incredibly careful handling the pans and especially the candy, as it is SO hot and sticky and you could easily burn yourself.  Use caution stirring and pouring.

I put on safety glasses and got out a big pan…..

RuthanneIt wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be.  It was actually really fun, and it turned out GREAT!

Ready for the recipe?  Here you go:  (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Light Karo Corn Syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lb. raw peanuts (be sure to use raw- I found mine in the produce section of my grocery)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (plus enough to coat a large jelly roll pan)
  • 2 heaping teaspoons baking soda

DIRECTIONS:

  • Liberally butter a large jellyroll pan (this is just a cookie sheet with sides- the bigger, the better!) and set it on a towel or potholders (it will get very hot when you pour the brittle in).
  • In a large saucepan (I used a dutch oven pan) place water, Karo syrup and sugar.
  • Place a candy thermometer in the pan (I clipped mine to the side)
  • Heat on high and boil until soft ball stage (238F degrees), stirring occasionally.
  • While this is boiling, measure out the remaining ingredients and have them ready to add.
  • At 238F degrees, add the peanuts, salt and butter and carefully STIR continually until mixture reaches brittle stage (310F degrees).  This took me about 15-20 minutes.

How-to-make peanut brittleHow-to-make peanut brittle

  • Add baking soda and stir until it disappears.  The mixture will foam up and double in size (that’s why you need a big pan!). Give it  few seconds to get nice and foamy.
  • CAREFULLY, using oven mitts, pour mixture onto your buttered jelly roll pan.  Do not spread it out, just let it spread it out on its own.  Allow brittle to cool for several hours (don’t rush this part– it is worth the wait!)

How-to-make peanut brittleHow-to-make peanut brittle

  • Once it is completely cool, break it up into chunks and enjoy!!!!!!

Peanut Brittle!!
My thoughts: This isn’t a difficult recipe- it is just hot and time consuming.  Now that I’ve made it, I will make it again though- it is SO worth the effort!  I know there are much simpler recipes (even ones in the microwave!) for peanut brittle, and I’m all about simple.  But this is an exception to the rule of keeping things simple.  I really think you will love it!  Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipe Aunt Beth!  Love you!  ~R

Peanut Brittle
Other Christmas recipe ideas:

Snowman Oreo PopsChocolate Pecan TartChocolate Bon-bonsPeanut butter cup cheesecake

Advertisements

Opera Creams

Opera Cream Candy These cream-filled chocolates are so smooth and rich you won’t be able to stop at just one!

I work in a genetics lab.  Every year at Christmas my co-worker Gail brings in the most wonderful candy I’ve ever eaten.  Every year I ask for the recipe and she smiles and says that she can give me the recipe but that I’d need to visit and learn the recipe from her.  Now that I’ve made it, I understand.  This is not a typical Easybaked recipe, it’s very involved.  It’s fun and challenging and oh- soooo worth the effort though!

Gail recently retired and about a week ago I visited her in her kitchen to learn how to make opera creams.

This is a recipe passed down to her from her mom, who had all kinds of thoughts about the making of this candy.  My favorite was that the recipe works best on sunny days and if it’s raining you might as well just wait to make it another day.  We had a beautiful sunny December day to make our candy on, so I’m sure she would have approved.

Lets start with the recipe– that’s the easy part.  I’m going to post it twice– once with pictures and videos and once just straight so you can read it easier.

Gail's moms recipe card

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 c. sugar
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/8 t. cream of tartar
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t butter
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • Chocolate (of your choice) for dipping- we used tempered dark chocolate bits

DIRECTIONS:

  • Put sugar, cream, cream of tartar and corn syrup into a large saucepan and mix well.
  • Use a pastry brush and a little water to brush all of mixture down the sides of the pan to remove any sugar stuck to the sides.

Use a pastry brush to brush water down sides of panGail and her moms candy thermometer

  • Cover pan and bring to a boil.
  • When boiling, uncover and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
  • Bring mixture to 240F degrees
  • (While you are waiting for this to come to temp, butter the bottom and sides of a shallow glass or ceramic dish.)

Bring to 240F degreesDon't stir!!!

  • Remove from stove and add salt, butter and vanilla– do not stir!
  • Pour mixture into buttered dish (don’t use plastic!) and allow this to cool completely (we put it on the back porch where it was cool and this took 2 hours)
  • Spoon cooled mixture onto clean countertop (it will be like a very sticky caramel)

Pour into a non-plastic dishCooled mixtureKnead into a soft cream

  • Work with hands until firm and creamy- it takes 20-30 minutes and this is pure craziness….here are the stages to expect:
  1. sticky caramel- fairly firm
  2. slimy/ buttery texture– almost like its falling apart
  3. sticky but workable
  4. so sticky that you literally cannot move your fingers and you are sure you will have to get the mixture surgically removed.
  5. no longer sticky- but like playdough with little crumbs falling off at the edges…keep kneading!
  6. Finally creamy and smooth- kneads together in one beautiful dough- like ball.

I filmed Gail as she went through this process.  Click HERE to see the near-miraculous transformation from sticky to creamy smooth!

  • Place this ball of filling in a dish, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate for 2 days….yes. TWO DAYS.
  • Bring cream filling back to room temp and roll into balls.

Roll into ballsDip into chocolate...

  • Dip into melted chocolate and cool.
  • You can mix nuts or coconut into the cream if you like, or just leave them plain.


Opera Cream CandyMy thoughts: amazingly yummy.  The cream is just like no other candy I’ve tried.  It is worth every bit if the effort it took us to make these.  I found myself cringing as people popped them whole into their mouths though…I kept thinking, “SAVOR those!!!  You’ve no idea how hard I worked on them!!!”  So hard, in fact that I took a two hour nap when I got home!

Opera cream CandyNow for the recipe in an easy-to-read format:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 c. sugar
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/8 t. cream of tartar
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t butter
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • Chocolate (of your choice) for dipping- we used dark tempered chocolate bits

DIRECTIONS:

  • Put sugar, cream, cream of tartar and corn syrup to a large saucepan and mix well.
  • Use a pastry brush and a little water to brush all of mixture down the sides of the pan to remove any sugar stuck to the sides.
  • Cover pan and bring to a boil.
  • When boiling, uncover and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
  • Bring mixture to 240F degrees
  • (While you are waiting for this to come to temp, butter the bottom and sides of a shallow glass or ceramic dish.)
  • Remove from stove and add butter and vanilla– do not stir!
  • Pour mixture into buttered dish (don’t use plastic!) and allow this to cool completely (we put it on the back porch where it was cool and this took 2 hours)
  • Spoon cooled mixture onto clean countertop (it will be like a very sticky caramel)
  • Work with hands until firm and creamy.
  • Place this ball of filling in a dish, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate for 2 days.
  • Bring cream filling to room temp and roll into balls.
  • Dip into melted chocolate and cool.
  • You can mix nuts or coconut into the cream if you like, or just leave them plain.

Opera Cream Candy

A huge “thank-you” to Gail for spending so much time teaching me her family recipe!  We had such a fun day together cooking AND trying lime phosphates while we waited for candy to cool!

Having fun while the candy cools!

Enjoy!!!!!  ~r

Other (easier!) Christmas recipe ideas from Easybaked~ Click on the image to be taken to the recipe:

Chocolate molten lava cupcakesCake balls filled with cream cheese frostingChocolate bonbonsHot Chocolate Pops!

%d bloggers like this: