This is a classic peanut brittle recipe, where crunchy caramelized sugar surrounds salty roasted peanuts, with an option for chocolate peanut bark with two variations. Beware — they’re all addictive, delicious with tea, coffee, and for endless snacking! Don’t be deterred if it doesn’t come out perfect the first time. Everyone will nosh on it anyway. It took me a few tries to get it right, and my family and friends were thrilled to be included in my experimentations. Send to a friend for a simchah instead of cake or cookies. It also freezes well, if it ever makes it there.
Yields approximately 1 7×11-inch piece of peanut brittle.
Place sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Do not stir. Do not wash dishes or talk on the phone either. Seriously, just watch it like a baby! Brush down the sides of the pot occasionally with cool water, to wash the sugar crystals off.
Continue boiling until the syrup turns a golden amber color (that’s the key here — you don’t want it clear and you don’t want it deep amber either) and reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) on a candy thermometer. This is called the “hard crack” stage. If you’re not sure, drop a tiny bit into cold water. If it immediately hardens into a breakable strand, it’s ready. If it sinks or can bend without breaking, cook a little longer. This should take approximately 11 minutes (but can be less/more depending on your flame).
You have to work fast once the syrup is ready, so have all the other ingredients ready on the counter. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in salt and peanuts with a wooden spoon. Quickly add the rest of the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, and mix together well.
Pour onto a sheet of Gefen Parchment Paper, spreading thinly and evenly, using an oiled metal spatula. Let harden before breaking into pieces.
To halve peanuts, put them whole in a plastic bag, after removing the dark reddish papery coating, and knock on them gently with a meat tenderizer (aka a shnitzel pounder).
This recipe can be doubled. Amount of peanuts can be altered to suit your taste. You can also sub other nuts. I tried it with part cashews and it was beyond! Try it with almonds and almond extract, macadamia nuts, or pistachios.
Spread 1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips evenly on the bottom of a 7×11-inch baking pan lined with baking paper.
After mixing all the ingredients into the candy syrup, quickly and carefully pour it over the chocolate chips in the pan and spread as above, taking care to cover as much of the chocolate chips as possible. You will have a thick layer of chocolate on the bottom. Allow to harden and then break into pieces.
For a thin coating on the peanut brittle, melt one cup of chocolate chips and, using a pastry brush, spread the underside of the large unbroken piece of peanut brittle with melted chocolate. Allow to harden as above. (All three options are visible in the photo.)