Peanut Brittle with Art and Soul
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 AHEAD TIP:
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
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.
2008, 2009 Nigella Lawson