Peanut Brittle with Art and Soul

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This title isn’t a boast, but a name to denote provenance. It’s a recipe given to me, at my greedy request, by the cook-and-a-half, Art Smith. True, I’ve slightly simplified it, but only because I don’t have his deserved confidence, so I make my batch smaller, and leave out the difficult technical bits.     But even so, what this makes is fabulous: you really have to steel yourself to give it away.


Make the brittle up to 1 week before eating or giving. Store in airtight bags or containers in a dry, non-humid environment. Once opened, eat within 7 to 10 days.



Total Timeunder 30 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe Coursedessert, snack

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, low cholesterol, low-fat, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturecrunchy, nutty, sweet


  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda


Get out a large sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil, place on a cookie sheet, and butter or oil it. Sit it by the stove, waiting to receive the brittle once it’s ready to pour.

Put the sugar, water and syrup into a saucepan, bring to the boil gently, then turn up the heat and let it boil for 8-10 minutes, swirling (but not stirring) the pan a couple of times, until the syrup has turned gold in color. It will be smoking by then, so be warned!

Take the pan off the heat and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the nuts, followed by the vanilla, butter and baking soda. You will have a golden, frothy, hot and gooey mixture.

Pour this briskly onto the waiting parchment or foil, using your wooden spoon to coax and pull it to make a nut-studded sheet, puddle-shaped though it may be, rather than a heap.

Leave it to cool, then break into pieces and store in at airtight container or box; or bag up to give at once as presents. You’ll get about 1 pound in total, and it’s up to you how much you want to put in each bag, really. I find it easier to do several small batches like this, rather than multiplying quantities as I cook.



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