The Clever Tip For Making Peanut Brittle Without A Candy Thermometer

Pile of peanut brittle
Pile of peanut brittle - Bhofack2/Getty Images

While store-bought candies and confections like Reese's peanut butter cups and Snickers bars are certainly delicious, there's something extra special about homemade sweets. A few mouthwatering options that come to mind include rich butter toffee, caramels, and chocolate truffles. There's also crunchy peanut brittle, which is sweet and nutty and easy to make in bulk.

This confection is made by dissolving sugar in a combination of water and corn syrup and bringing it to a boil. Then, peanuts are stirred in, and the confection is left to cook until it reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The whole thing is finished by removing the candy from the heat and mixing in butter and a pinch of salt for flavor, as well as baking soda to create a crunchy, hard candy. Then, it's spread on a baking sheet, left to harden, and cracked into pieces.

Now, while that sounds simple enough, if you don't keep an eye on your mixture, it can easily turn out over or undercooked. That's why most people who prepare this sweet use a candy thermometer to ensure the mixture gets up to temperature. However, if you don't have a candy thermometer, it's still possible to make this sweet. All you have to do to find out if your peanut brittle is ready to be removed from the heat is to drop a bit of the syrup into cold water and see if it forms brittle strands. If so, you're ready to finish up your confection.

Read more: 8 Chocolate Bars That Are Totally Different Outside The US

The Hard Crack Stage And How To Check For It

Person making peanut brittle
Person making peanut brittle - Greoss/Shutterstock

When checking to see if your peanut brittle is at the hard crack stage, you'll need to know what to look for. Use a teaspoon to scoop a small amount of your candy mixture out of the pot and into a small bowl or cup of cold water. When the candy comes into contact with the cold water, it should firm up into brittle strands. You can check if the candy is at the right consistency by removing the pieces from the water and trying to break them. Your brittle should crack if you try to bend the strands.

Now, keep in mind that you may need to run this test several times. Each time you do, get a clean bowl of water. This ensures that it's cold and that you can properly see what stage your candy is at. Typically, it will take your mixture about 20 minutes to reach this stage. However, the exact amount of time can vary, so make sure to regularly check your candy to make sure you don't remove it from the heat too quickly or leave it on for too long.

Other Tips For Making Peanut Brittle

Pieces of peanut brittle
Pieces of peanut brittle - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

In addition to keeping the temperature of your peanut brittle mixture in mind as you cook, you'll also want to try to control your environment a bit; if you're working in an area with a lot of humidity, the moisture in the air can prevent the candy from setting properly, leading to a sticky sweet rather than a crunchy candy.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it's not a bad idea to have your ingredients pre-measured before you start cooking. The candy-making process goes quickly, especially at the end, and having your ingredients ready to go makes it easier to pour them into the mixture at the right time.

You should also heat the baking sheet before you spread your peanut brittle mixture over it. This helps to slow down the rate at which your peanut brittle cools, buying you a smidge of extra time for spreading the mixture. You'll still need to work quickly, but this can take some of the stress out of it. With all these tips, you're now ready to get to work making peanut brittle — with or without a candy thermometer!

Read the original article on Daily Meal.