Sunday, February 21, 2010

Microwave Peanut Brittle

This past Christmas Frank wanted peanut brittle. A friend of mine copied her microwave recipe and I had a stovetope recipe on standby... just in case. I don't trust microwave recipes after the "microwaved cupcake incident of 1983." Without having to describe the soggy wooden texture of these delicate cakes, I'm sure you understand my hesitation to microwave anything more than a frozen burrito.

This batch above (#4) is made with mixed nuts. 
The varying nut flavors are unexpected and fabulous.

The first batch - in the microwave - was slightly burnt and a little chewy. It was raining at the time, so it could have been the rain that caused the problems, but I blamed the microwave.

The second batch - on the stove - burned so badly I had to pour the liquid black sugar into the trash and start over.

The third batch - also on the stove - was watched carefully and tested as it cooked through each candy stage: soft ball, hard ball, hard crack... quick add the nuts, stir, add the baking soda... floooom! It puffed up over the top of the pot and all over the stove so quickly I didn't have time to stir. I hurried to pour the hot brittle onto the parchment covered pan and it went over the edge and hardened into a thick sticky inedible cement.

And it was burned, anyway.

The fourth and fifth batches were masterpieces.
And yes, they were made in the microwave. Would you like the recipe?

Mix together in 1 1/2 qt casserole:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
Microwave on high 4 minutes.

Stir in:
1 cup roasted salted peanuts
Microwave on high 4 minutes.

Add and blend well:
1 tsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Microwave 1-2 minutes more. Peanuts will be lightly browned and the syrup very hot.

1 tsp baking soda (sifted)
Gently stir until light and foamy.

Pour mixture onto lightly greased cookie sheet, parchment, or silpat (a non-stick silicone baking mat). Let cool 1/2 to 1 hour. When cool, break into small pieces and store in airtight container.
Makes about 1 pound.

In batch #4 I substituted mixed nuts for the peanuts. 

In batch #5 I used peanuts but instead of vanilla I added a tsp of lime juice and about 2 tablespoons of chili powder. Oh yeah... This one is addictive. I've got to make a 6th batch of this variety, only I think I'm going to add a little cayenne to it so it has a more obvious kick.

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