Learning from the master – Part 1

By Carol / November 16, 2011 /

Kathy makes perfect peanut brittle. And she shared her recipe with me. But any cook will tell you that having the recipe and achieving the same result as the master are not always the same thing.

Following her recipe to the letter, I’ve made batch after batch of perfect peanut brittle. I thought. However, when I bit into a piece of brittle from her most recent batch, I realized there is more to be learned. There is an ever-so-slight burnt sugar taste to her brittle that is missing from mine.

“I did it exactly to 310 degrees. Just like you said,” I protested.

“Maybe I go to 315,” she smiled.

I confess to being a bit of a slave to recipes. If it works, don’t mess with it. That’s my theory. But most cooks adapt. My husband professes that my peanut brittle is good, but that burnt sugar taste is even better. I’ll be back at the stove trying again for peanut brittle perfection. And walking that tight line between what I know works and the experimentation that could make it even better.

Kathy’s Peanut Brittle

    • 1 cup white syrup


  • 2 cups sugar



  • 1/2 cup water


Combine in heavy pan and bring to a boil

    • Add 2 sticks of the cheapest margarine you can buy. Stir until blended.

Cook over medium heat until temperature on candy thermometer reaches 280 degrees.

    • Add 12 ounces raw peanuts. Stir until temperature reaches 310 degrees.
    • Add 1 tsp baking soda. Stir in very quickly.

Pour at once on to a buttered cookie sheet.  Leave the peanut brittle as it pours out. Do NOT spread it around. Cool and break into pieces. Store in a tin in a cool place.

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