Peanut brittle is an old-fashion candy that is still popular today. According The Food Timeline, a real authoritative source for a change, recipes for candy made with groundnuts (as peanuts were then called) first appeared in 1847. The term brittle, however, wasn't used until almost 50 years later.
I have been using this peanut brittle recipe for almost 10 years. It's more peanut than brittle. If you want something resembling the boxed stuff made who-knows-how-long-ago that you find at the supermarket, reduce the amount of peanuts by a half-cup.
Many recipes call for buttering a foil-lined baking sheet, which can result in a tasty but greasy brittle. That is, unless you missed a spot while buttering. In which case you have peanut-and-foil brittle. Or as Snidely Whiplash puts it, "Curses! Foiled Again!".
Some recipes suggest blotting the brittle with paper towels to remove all that grease, but I have an even better suggestion (TIP ALERT!): invest in a silicone baking mat. No greasing, yet nothing, NUH-thing sticks to it. Cleanup is easy too. The only time I don't use a baking mat for heat-related candy is when it's in use for another heat-related candy.
Another important item is a candy thermometer. The exact temperature necessary to achieve proper consistency from soft caramel up to brittle ... brittle, can be easily guesstimated by expert candy-makers who know how a few drops of boiling sugar react when dropped into cold water. I am not an expert candy-maker, and I bet you are not one either.
Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle
based on: Bon Appetit
yield: about 1 pound
1 cup water
3/8 cup light corn syrup
3/8 cup dark corn syrup
1 Tbl. unsalted butter
2 cups salted roasted peanuts
1/2 Tbl. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Place a silicone baking mat on a large rimmed baking sheet (or line large rimmed baking sheet with foil; grease foil with an additional tablespoon of butter). Set aside.
Stir sugar, water and both corn syrups together in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
Increase heat to high, insert candy thermometer and boil without stirring until thermometer reaches 260F, about 30-40 minutes, depending upon your stovetop's definition of "high heat."
Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in butter and peanuts.
Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until temperature reaches 295F, about 10-15 minutes.
Turn off heat and remove thermometer. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Mixture will lighten and start to foam up.
Immediately pour onto prepared baking sheet. Mixture will continue to foam a bit; spread it out as best you can before it starts to harden.
Allow brittle to cool completely to room temperature. No cheating, unless you prefer folding your brittle.
Break brittle into pieces, sizes up to you (and the brittle). Store in airtight container at room temperature, up to 1 month.
May I please have some?