When I was growing up, one of my favorite parts of Christmas was baking with my grandmother. She was an amazing baker and cake decorator and I learned so much from her. Every year, we'd spend at least a week baking Christmas cookies, candies, pies, etc. in preparation for our big family dinner. There were several things that you could always plan on having at her house at Christmas. One was her sugar cookies, and another was her peanut brittle. Although she has been gone for 4 1/2 years now, I still keep her memory alive by baking up a storm every December.
I inherited a lot of her recipes and cookbooks and this recipe was in one of her decades old cookbooks. I can't be sure whether this is the exact recipe she used (and grandma always tapped the bubbles out of her peanut brittle), but it is a huge favorite with my family.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do...
Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a heavy saucepan, then add the following:
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
Boil on high heat until the syrup spins long threads. You can determine this by using a wooden spoon and drizzling the sugar mixture into a glass of water. When the sugar pours off of the spoon into the water in a constant thread, it's ready. Add 1 package of raw Spanish peanuts (approx 2 cups) and turn the heat down to medium to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns to a golden brown (approx 15-20 minutes). Remove from stove.
3 Tbsp butter (cut in cubes)
1 tsp vanilla
Stir together until the butter is melted, then add 3 tsp of baking soda. Stir until it bubbles up and then pour it on a large buttered cookie sheet. Using potholders or oven mitts, pick up the cookie sheet and tilt it side to side to spread the mixture out. Using this meathod, the bubbles haven't broken and it makes it crunchy and easy to eat.
Set the pan in a cool place (such as outside during this time of year) until the peanut brittle has cooled and hardened.
If you'd like to make this recipe like my grandmother made it, spread the peanut brittle on the cookie sheet with a wooden spoon and then tap the sheet lightly to get the bubbles out.