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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

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

These rich cupcakes, topped with vanilla buttercream frosting, have a gooey cinnamon roll filling that will leave you wanting cupcakes for breakfast every morning!  These are an absolutely perfect treat for a breakfast party or a brunch!

(makes 24 cupcakes)

INGREDIENTS:

  • One boxed yellow cake mix (with oil, water and eggs to make according to package)
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. ground cinnamon
  • 6 T.  packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar (divided)
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 sticks of salted butter, room temp
  • 2 T. clear vanilla flavoring

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make your filling first so it can cool while your cupcakes bake.
  • Place whipping cream, cinnamon and brown sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Set aside to cool (you can place this into the refrigerator if you want to speed the cooling process along.)
  • Make 24 cupcakes according to the directions on whatever box mix you choose  to use. (I like Duncan Hines)
  • Use a small paring knife to cut a small cone out of the top of each cupcake.

  • Finish the filling by adding 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to the (cooled!) cinnamon/brown sugar/cream mixture.
  • Beat on medium speed until well combined and creamy.
  • Place filling in a zip-top bag, clip a corner and pipe filling into each of the cone-shaped holes on the top of each cupcake.  You should have some filling left at the end- set this aside to drizzle on the top after frosting.
  • Make your buttercream frosting by placing all 4 sticks of  (softened) butter, 3 cups of powdered sugar and the vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beating on high until very light and fluffy.
  • Clip a corner of a zip top bag, place a decorating tip in the corner, fill the bag with frosting, zip it shut and pipe frosting over cupcakes, covering up the filling (check out this video if you need help piping frosting).
  • Drizzle the remaining filling over the top of each cupcake and sprinkle each with just a little cinnamon.

These cupcakes are best served shortly after they are made (like cinnamon rolls are!)  If you need to make them in advance, keep them refrigerated (because of the cream filling).  Be sure to let the cupcakes come to room temperature before you serve them or your buttercream will be hard.

My thoughts:  You know when restaurants indicate on a menu that a dish is one of their signature dishes and *hint hint* you should try it?  This is one of those recipes for this blog.  These are one of my very favorite creations thus far.  Now, I have to qualify that with this: I LOVE cinnamon rolls- especially big gooey ones, and I love frostings and fillings.  These cupcakes have gotten rave reviews with everyone I know.  The only negative comments I’ve heard have been from people who say there’s too much frosting/filling.  If you are the sort that scrapes frosting off things anyway, my recommendation is to cut the frosting recipe in half.  As for me…bring on the gooey sweet happiness!!!  I really REALLY hope you get a chance to try these –if you do, let me know what you think!  Enjoy!  -r

9-24-12 I’m adding to this post because my friend Megan just told me about a really cool time-saver—a cupcake corer!!! (honestly, what will they think of next….!)  I just ordered it and I’ll let you know what I think.  If you want to check it out yourself click here: Cupcake Corer.  So fun…!

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