I'm not sure why Peanut Brittle is associated with Christmas but it seems as though this is the time of year when most people make it; or you see the boxed version in the stores.
I grew up making Peanut Brittle every holiday season with my Grandma and my Mom. Watching the candy thermometer until it got to the exact temperature, stirring constantly, making sure it didn't get too hot or burn to the bottom of the pan.
I was thrilled when I came upon this spiced up version of an old classic. I love spice! Mexican spice, Indian spice it doesn't matter....and there really isn't any spice better to me than Cayenne Pepper. (I so miss Caribou Coffee's Spiced Mocha that they used to serve this time of year which included Cayenne Pepper but I digress).
I came across this recipe in the Better Homes & Gardens magazine six years ago and I have made it every year since. It actually comes from a recipe book put out by the actress Sandra Bullock's sister, Gesine Bullock-Prado.
SPICY BRITTLE!! (yes it has Cayenne Pepper in it so it is fabulous)
2 cups sugar
½ cup corn syrup
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. baking soda
3 cups salted, dry-roasted peanuts
1. Spray a large sheet pan with nonstick baking spray. In a large, heavy stockpot over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
2. Clip a candy thermometer on the side of the pot and boil mixture without stirring until temperature reaches 300.
3. Immediately remove the pot from the heat. Sprinkle baking soda over the syrup and stir. The contents will bubble vigorously. Stir in the peanuts.
4. Quickly pour mixture evenly onto prepared sheet pan. Use a small spatula (sprayed with nonstick baking spray) to spread the brittle in the pan while it is still warm.
5. Cool completely and break into pieces
This peanut brittle is the perfect blend of sweet, salty and spicy. The spice keeps the candy from being too sweet. The salt keeps the spice from being to spicy. The flavors keep you reaching for another piece, and another piece. There really is no reason to stop.
Package the candy is a tin or clear bag, tie with a bow and you have a fabulous homemade Christmas gift or Hostess gift.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!