It’s peanut brittle time at our house.
For the last several years, I have made peanut brittle to share with a few neighbors for the holidays. A Scrabble friend gave me the recipe for microwaved peanut brittle that seems to be “no fail.” I have yet to have a bad batch. So I roll into action in early December, make 7 or 8 batches, and parcel out the brittle in small holiday bags tied with red or green ribbons. If I can keep Ed away from it, I can get 2 gift bags out of each batch. To be able to give a gift that is made from scratch and that looks and tastes fantastic (and that, rightly or wrongly, makes me look clever) is very satisfying.
For years, Ed made chili sauce to give away for Christmas — using the tomatoes, green peppers, and onions from our vegetable garden flavored with sugar, vinegar and cinnamon. The big pot of vegetables bubbled on the stove top for almost an entire day, and the aroma filled the house for hours afterwards. Ed put the chili sauce up in pint jars — reminiscent of the process my Mother used to “can” peaches, pears, apricots, plums, applesauce. Back then, as the filled and capped jars started to cool, my sister and I would listen — waiting to hear each quart jar “ping” to indicate that the jar had sealed.
“Canning” is a lot of work. So a few years ago, we started making the peanut brittle instead of the chili sauce. And now it’s become the expected thing — by family and friends.
Microwave Peanut Brittle
1 cup raw Spanish peanuts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
Stir together peanuts, sugar, syrup and salt in 1 1/2 quart casserole. Place in microwave and cook on high power for 7-8 minutes.
Add butter and vanilla, blending well.
Return to oven and microwave on high 1-2 minutes more. Peanuts will be lightly browned and syrup very hot.
Add baking soda and gently stir until light and foamy. Quickly pour mixture on lightly greased cookie sheet. Cool 1/2 to 1 hour. Break up when cool.