Monday, 14 December 2015

Peanut Brittle (Dairy- and Gluten Free)

For more festive sugar craft: peanut brittle! A good and simple treat, made with only two ingredients (or three if you want a little buttery richness).

My oldest brother seems to subsist almost entirely on dry roasted peanuts, crackers, and the odd bowl of curry and rice. I have no idea how he is as alive and fit as he is, but he manages somehow. So, for this Christmas, I decided to make him some lovely sweet and crunchy brittle,

This is a very simple sugar craft project that even people who have never worked with sugar can make: only two ingredients, a frying pan, and no sugar thermometer.

☑ Soya
☑ Yeast
☑ Dairy
☑ Gluten

☒ Nuts
☒ Refined sugar products

  • 7 ounces (200 grammes) roasted salted peanuts
  • 7 ounces (200 grammes) caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) water
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) butter

  • Cut out a large sheet of non-stick paper, about a foot (30 centimetres) long. Brush lightly with flavourless oil.
  • Place all the ingredients in a large frying pan over low heat. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved into the water and become a syrup; if using the butter, heat gently until the butter and sugar melt together.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high, and cook while continuously stirring. The mixture will go through a few stages: first, the sugar will melt, then it will seize up into a crumbly mess, and then it will melt again, turning a golden brown colour. Please be patient, and don't think it's gone horribly wrong when it goes crumbly.
  • Once the brittle starts turning brown, be very careful not to burn it. Cook it to a nice, deep, nutty brown colour, but no further: the sugar will burn, turn black, taste disgusting, and possibly catch fire. 
  • Pour the mixture out onto the oiled paper and spread out thinly, making sure the peanuts are all touching off each other and compact. Neaten the edges into a rectangle. Do this quickly, because it doesn't take long to set.
  • Score the brittle into squares or rectangles with a long blade sharp knife. Allow to cool completely and set; about an hour.
  • Snap into pieces and wrap well in either clingfilm or cellophane, then keep in an airtight container; this brittle gets sticky quickly on exposure to air.

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