Monday, August 17, 2015

Chicken Little Peanut Brittle

My sister, Christi, has a mother-in-law with super powers. I'm not even joking. Her name is Mildred and she is a gentle, unassuming woman- but don't let that fool you. Mildred has super skills in all things related to making a house a home. First of all, she is the ultimate bargain hunter. This is the girl you want on your team on Black Friday. She once found me the perfect shirt, in my size, at 80% off in a bin the size of a small European country. All in less than 5 minutes. This woman has game.

She is also a fabulous cook- as in, from scratch, best thing you ever put in your mouth kind of cook. She makes this cream cheese, danish-like, kolache-esque  pastry she simply calls "cheese roll". It's about a foot and a half long and I once ate the entire thing all by myself while at her house. I think this was the first time my sister had introduced me to her. Clearly, I'm all about making good first impressions.

  Anyway, this is how incredible Mildred is. She once baked one of these cheese rolls, froze it, and carried it across state lines and time zones just because she knew how much I loved them. This woman is definitely using her powers for goodness.

Before my sister even married her boy, Mildred took me under her wing and gave me this cookbook. I've had it ever since. When we moved from Austin, I must have tossed over 40 cookbooks, but definitely not this one. As a matter of fact,I only kept 8 cookbooks and this one was in the top three. One of the recipes I use most often in this book is the peanut brittle recipe. This is the thing about peanut brittle - people are so impressed when you make this stuff. It's like they think you have nuclear chemistry knowledge of candy or something. It's actually very simple and I'll walk you through all the steps.  As always, the recipe will be at the end of this post. I have to give a shout out to Lisa Garrett from Geary High School. According to the FHA Cookbook of 1984, this was her recipe. You rock, sister.

This is all you need. Again- shelf stable is a good thing in my world. You will also need a candy thermometer. Invest in a good one with a strong clip. This will make things easier when you are stirring. You can find one online for about $10. Trust me, it will be worth it and you will use it for years.

The main key to the success of this recipe is prep work. Once things get rolling, everything happens pretty fast, so you want all your ingredients measured out and ready before you begin. Butter a piece of foil about this size. You can use margarine, but where's the fun in that?

 Place your ingredients close to your cook top, within easy reach. Clip your candy thermometer on a heavy pot and have your cooking mitts close by.

Put the water, sugar, and corn syrup in the pot and crank up the heat.

Stir until everything is dissolved.

Keep cooking and stirring until it hits the hard crack stage. That is around 300-310 degrees. It will begin to make small bubbles first and look like this. Kinda frothy like egg whites. This is all the water evaporating.

Now it is around 260 degrees - bigger bubbles, slower boil.

Once you hit 300 degrees (the hard crack stage), add the peanuts while it is still on the heat.

Stir those babies for about 1 minute until they start popping.

I put the vanilla, butter, and salt all in a little cup. It's just easier to add this way. Dump it in and stir like you mean it.

Take the pot off the heat and add the baking soda.

Again, stir it like you mean it. Keep stirring until it gets light and airy like this.

Pour it out onto the buttered foil. Be careful here- it is seriously hot and super sticky.

Wait until it is totally cool (this is usually about 20 minutes) and then snap it into smaller pieces.

Here it is all done.  Gorgeous, impressive and relatively easy.  When people find out you made this from scratch, they will name their children after you- it is that good.  Just make sure you tell them your name is Mildred.

Here is the recipe as promised. 


  1. Love your blog and I'm pretty sure you have super powers too!