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Old-fashioned Peanut Brittle

December 06, 2006

4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups corn syrup
2 1/2 cup No. 1 Spanish peanuts (see cook's notes)
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter

Cook sugar and corn syrup in a pot or copper kettle until it reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add peanuts and cook to 300 degrees. Remove from heat. Add baking soda and butter. Mix thoroughly until mixture begins to foam up. Quickly, pour onto a greased cookie sheet.

Let mixture cool so that it's pliable and can be easily removed from the cookie sheet. With your hands, pull the peanut brittle mixture to thin it out. While the mixture is still pliable and warm, cut into squares.

An alternative: After pulling, allow mixture to cool completely - taking care not to let it stick to the cookie sheet - and break into irregular pieces using a hammer.

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Yields 4 pounds of brittle.

Cook's note: According to the folks at Planters peanuts, Spanish peanuts have smallish kernels, reddish skin, and higher oil content than other types of peanuts. No. 1 Spanish peanuts are whole nuts. They are not available at local grocery stores but might be found in specialty shops.

- Courtesy of Will Pananes, owner of Olympia Candy Kitchen in Chambersburg, Pa., and Hagerstown. The family recipe dates back to 1925, Pananes said.

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