It sort of seems like I tend to follow in my great-grandmother’s footsteps a lot (no, not Baba – this is Gammy, my other great-grandmother). I ended up going to the same college that she went to (only 89 years later), she was musical, just like me; and now I’m trying to follow her lead and learn to make candy like she did. During the Depression, Gammy made and sold candy to earn money for her family. She made all kinds of different candies, and kept her recipes written down in notebooks. I was lucky enough to inherit these wonderful books full of her hand-written candy recipes. A few weeks ago, I decided it was high time I learned how to make candy -it’s in my blood, after all! I wanted to make some peanut brittle for my family (especially for my Grandaddy- he loves peanuts!), so I found an easy sounding recipe and went to work, hoping Gammy’s candy-making skills would shine through me. Lucky for me, I ended up with a beautiful batch of homemade peanut brittle! Turns out, candy-making isn’t too hard; maybe one of these days I’ll get out Gammy’s old recipe books and try my luck at one of her special homemade candies! I’m just glad I found one more thing she and I have in common!
-adapted from Allrecipes.com
1 cup unsalted cocktail peanuts
2 cups white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lay out several sheets of greased foil to pour the hot peanut brittle onto.
In a large pot (I used my dutch oven) mix the sugar, syrup, and water together. Cook at a medium-high heat, stirring regularly. Heat until the mixture has a hard ball consistency. Heat to 250 to 265 degrees, or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a rigid ball. If you don’t own a candy thermometer, occasionally hold spoon above mixture, allowing it to drip off spoon. When mixture is at hard ball stage, it will ‘hair’ off the spoon when falling, looking like a clear spider web.
Once mixture is at hard ball consistency, add peanuts. (They might pop a little.) When mixture starts to turn a light clear-brown, remove from stove. Add butter, vanilla, and soda and stir. Mixture will foam up.
Pour out onto the greased foil and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour or so until brittle is completely cool and hard enough to break into bite-size pieces.
*I found that it’s probably more helpful to have a second person on hand to hold the pot while you scrape out the mixture – the pot will be heavy (and hot) and it’s incredibly hard to do it all by yourself!
Mine didn’t spread much, so I only needed about 3 sheets of foil – but do make sure you grease your foil very well; it will stick!