For Lanz family Christmas gift exchanges, the adults draw names. A few years ago, we were challenged (dared, maybe?) to make our gifts. A lovely idea, if you know how to make anything. Anything at all. Scott and I were both panic-stricken, as our minds raced, looking for the answers that just weren’t there. Joe (Scott’s dad), was practically a master wood carver and Ann (Scott’s mom), accidentally knits a blanket just by picking up a skein of yarn. The rest of the family is equally talented and crafty. Us, not so much. But wait, I can cook.
I had the good fortune of drawing Joe’s name for the last 2 Christmases we were blessed to have him with us and I knew of his affection for brittley/nutty/caramelly-type things. While searching for a peanut brittle recipe, everything I found involved pots of boiling sugary syrup, a candy thermometer to reach various very specific temps and many quick actions with this bubbling cauldron as soon as said temps were achieved. They were rife with opportunities for disaster, up to and including burning myself and/or the house down.
I was cautiously optimistic when I found a recipe for microwave peanut brittle, however, it worked perfectly the first time and it’s been my go-to ever since. I made 3 batches last week. I highly recommend making it in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. A glass bowl can be used, but the handle on the measuring cup stays cool so transporting to/from the nuker is easy.
Microwave Sea Salt Peanut Brittle
1 cup white sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 ½ cups raw Spanish peanuts
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
sea salt, to taste- optional
Line baking sheet with foil, spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine sugar and corn syrup in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup and microwave on high 4 minutes. Stir in peanuts and microwave on high 3 ½ minutes more. Stir in butter and vanilla.
If the mixture has not yet started to turn golden brown, microwave for up to 1 ½ more minutes, until it has just begun to turn color. If it has started to turn golden brown, stir in the baking soda until light and foamy.
Pour onto baking sheet and spread to desired thickness. Immediately sprinkle with sea salt, if desired. Cool completely and break into pieces. Store in plastic zip-top bag.