Posted on December 2 2011

Tartine Baking Project: Recipe #21 Peanut Brittle

What better way to kick off December and the holiday season than with some peanut brittle?  Is it just me, or does peanut brittle have a “White Christmas” theme song?   Peanut brittle also reminds me of: my grandma, Hansel and Gretel, and the board game ‘Candy Land’… 

So I just did a little research of the game because I couldn’t remember what role, if any, peanut brittle actually played in the game.  Looks like Grandma Nut’s house was made of it.  Whoa.  Maybe that’s why I think of my grandma and Hansel and Gretel.  Candy Land has truly made an impression in my life.

Apparently the city of Kalamazoo is having a raw nut shortage, because I couldn’t find raw peanuts anywhere.  No, I really just tried two places, and both just had raw Spanish peanuts.  I didn’t feel like driving all the the place, and I figured taking the skin off would be quick and easy.  For a few of them, this was definitely the case.  I had to employ a method to make this a process that didn’t take forever: I’d take a handful, clasp my hands over them, and rub them like crazy.  It works.

Everything was measured before I even started, like my own little segment of Martha Stewart, because I knew that once this train started rolling I needed to work quickly.

I wonder if there’s a candy thermometer equivalent of the kind they swipe over your forehead at the doctor’s office… 

Everything was moving, and bubbling, along smoothly.  As soon as the peanuts went in, things got worrisome.  I suddenly had a clumpy thing on my hands, and stirring it became nigh impossible.  And keeping the thermometer in to let me know when it reached the proper temperature?  Forget it!  Well, for a few minutes at least.  It settled down a bit, and becomes a somewhat manageable blob.  That is, until it was time to spread it out.  That was difficult.  I don’t think I was working fast enough mixing things in and trying to capture it all on film, so when it came to spreading it, it seemed a little too thick.

After it cooled a bit I could spread it apart with my hands, which creates air bubbles, which means a very brittle brittle.

Picked the whole thing up and dropped it.  (on purpose)

My fears and concerns were misguided, as they often are baking from this cookbook.  This peanut brittle is perfect and just like you’d find at a real candy shop, or candy shoppe, depending on where you’re at.  It’s the kind of thing that if you were to drop it on the floor, you will pick it up and put it in your mouth, regardless of who’s in the room and looking in your direction.  I really think if the President was hosting a Season 2 Season Premiere party for the cast of Game of Thrones, and the cast of Parks and Recreation just showed up, and for some reason I had peanut brittle and dropped it in front of everyone I’d pick it up and eat it.

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