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An extremely easy peanut brittle that does not require a candy thermometer or corn syrup! 
     My dad’s birthday is coming up, so of course, I wanted to take this opportunity to create a fancy new birthday cake. 
     BUT…. he made a special request that my mom make him one of her Banana Layer Cakes with Lemon Curd Filling and Buttercream Frosting. And although I love new opportunities to conjure up a new recipe, I couldn’t blame him for this request; that banana cake is maybe my favorite cake ever. I don’t even feel like trying to duplicate her recipe, because it just can’t be as good… but I digress.
     Well, just because I don’t have a cake to make doesn’t mean my opportunity is squandered. I still need to get my dad a birthday present. He loves sweets, so I know he would appreciate something homemade. But he was going to have a whole banana cake to work on… I clearly needed to make something that could store well and didn’t need to be eaten right away.
I immediately thought of peanut brittle. My dad LOVES peanut brittle. 
     My first attempt to make it was the ‘old-fashioned’ method, which involved corn syrup, sugar, and water cooking on the stove for a relatively long period of time until the mixture reaches a certain temperature, then remaining ingredients are quickly stirred in and it’s all very quickly poured onto a prepared cookie sheet.
     I didn’t have a candy thermometer. But I guess I was feeling over-confident, because I decided to try it without one anyway. Bad idea. I was very vigilant in making sure the mixture didn’t burn. When I thought it looked the right color and consistency (how would I even know what’s ‘right’?), I quickly mixed in the peanuts and vanilla, then poured it onto a baking sheet. It looked okay, but the real test was letting it cool so it could actually become ‘brittle’. It never did.
It was basically a big pile of peanut taffy. Back to the old drawing board.
     Determined NOT to buy a candy thermometer (maybe I’m too much of a penny-pincher?), I decided to try to find a different method to make peanut brittle. 
     After skimming through various cookbooks (my cookbook collection is ginormous) and internet suggestions, I was able to sketch out a recipe. But I was wary…
This time, I used no corn syrup. I didn’t want to mess with that.
     I decided to use some peanut butter powder in order to add more dimension to the brittle, as it is generally just too sweet; at least in my personal experience. I wanted it to taste like something other than sugar. (Coincidentally, I recently invested in a blender, and I must say that peanut butter powder is delicious in smoothies! Maybe I’ll have to share my recipes for that sometime!) 
     As for cooking this recipe, please know that it takes a long while for the sugar mixture to start doing anything. You will be constantly stirring and cooking some dry-ish sugar for the majority of the cook time. Be patient! Eventually, it will begin to form wet dark spots. As you continue stirring, it will start turning to liquid. 
     This did NOT spread very much… I mean, almost not at all. So if you are looking for a traditional thin peanut brittle, this recipe isn’t the right one. But if you just want a peanut brittle that tastes good and do not have concerns about its thickness, then I would suggest trying out this recipe. The peanut butter powder was a good choice, as this added a slightly different, peanut buttery element that I thought it needed. The dry roasted peanuts are plentiful in this peanut brittle, making it extra chunky. 
     Even though I am not usually  a fan of peanut brittle, I really thought this was particularly good after my taste-test. I packaged this up, and I will deliver this peanut brittle to my dad for his birthday present. I know he’s going to like it!


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Ingredients Section:


  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together both sugars, peanut butter powder and salt; set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat.
  4. Once the butter is melted, add the dry ingredients, stirring with a rubber spatula to combine.
  5. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat
  6. At about 10-12 minutes, the mixture should begin to darken and eventually begin to liquify. Start whisking vigorously at this point to minimize liquid/solid separation. 
  7. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in vanilla and peanuts.
  8. Working as quickly as possible, spread onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet, spreading with the rubber spatula or butter knife. Don’t worry that it will not spread very much, as this recipe is a thicker peanut brittle.
  9. Allow the brittle to cool completely before breaking it into pieces (see notes)

Notes about this recipe:

  • I used these Dry Roasted Peanuts for this recipe, but feel free to use whatever brand you have on hand
  • It’s extremely important to make sure all ingredients are ready and measured out, because you have to work very quickly before it hardens too much
  • Make sure you remove the saucepan from the heat before adding the vanilla; also be warned that the mixture will bubble and pop when adding the vanilla, so use caution.
  • This will harden very quickly once off the heat, so you have to work really fast getting the mixture to the cookie sheet. As the title states, this is NOT a thin peanut brittle, so do not expect that you’ll be able to spread it very much once on the cookie sheet.
  • When breaking the brittle into pieces, I wanted to avoid a mess or sharp pieces flying everywhere. So I placed big chunks of the cooled brittle into a plastic freezer bag, sat it on the kitchen counter, and tapped the brittle in various spots with a meat mallet. Use enough force to break into smaller chunks, but not enough to smash it. Be gentle, but firm, if that makes sense.
  • Allow the brittle to cool completely before breaking into pieces.
  • I used PB2 Peanut Butter Powder for this recipe

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