2008-02-26

Microwave Peanut Brittle



Yes indeed, happy days ARE here again!!! The sun has re-appeared in Southern California... and not a moment too soon. After four days at the NASCAR races where it was very cold and very rainy, I'll gladly welcome this week's forecast of sun, sun and more sun. While at the speedway I was introduced to a new (to me) dessert called a Wild Berry Buckle. It's kinda like a pie... and it's kinda like a cobbler... but it's also kinda different. I've been searching the net and checking out various buckle recipes but if you've got one you'd like to share, well by all means please do! I'm going to make one and post about it at some point in the future because the Wild Berry Buckle that I had this past weekend was goooood =)


I've always been a huge fan of dessert. Whether it be pie (pumpkin, thankyou!) or cookies (peanut butter, yum!) or cake (white w/buttercream icing, please!) or pudding (tapioca for me!) or bars (lemon-lemon-lemon!!!) or frou-frou (creme brulee'? yes!) or what have you... I am a fan of dessert. I like desserts that are hard and crunchy or soft and chewy... but I especially love desserts that are warm and gooey... like bread pudding. OMG - one of my all time fave desserts and one day I'll have to share my recipe with you. But that "one day" is not today... for today is dedicated to Peanut Brittle.

Before last December, I'd never even considered making Peanut Brittle. I mean, I had visions of extreme effort and endless time spent at the stove stirring and stirring and stirring. Sure, I love to eat Peanut Brittle but just as surely recall that the RPC is rather lazy. Okay Okay Okay... I lie... I'm not just "rather" lazy... I'm extremely lazy =) LOL!! When I came across some recipes for Microwave Peanut Brittle, the mere concept was too intriguing to pass up!

The ingredient list is actually pretty simple: peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, salt, butter, vanilla and baking soda. You can either use dry roasted peanuts or "raw" peanuts... though I've always used the "raw" kind I know others who use dry roasted. Play around and see which you prefer.


My one area of caution would be use a very sturdy dish that can withstand high heat (plastic will melt) ... and soak it in soapy water immediately otherwise you'll never be able to clean it (not that I speak from experience or anything! LOL)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups peanuts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda

DIRECTIONS:

Note: my microwave is 1100w and these directions apply to this wattage. You may need to modify the cooking times accordingly if your microwave is significantly lower or higher wattage.

Coat a baking sheet with a generous amount of cooking spray. In a glass bowl combine the peanuts, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Stir this all up as best you can. Microwave this for 4 minutes and 45 seconds on HIGH. Carefully remove from microwave and stir in butter and vanilla. Stir this up as best you can... it will be kinda thick and gooey. Microwave again for 1 minute and 45 seconds on HIGH. Carefully remove from microwave and stir in the baking soda just until the mixture is foamy. Immediately pour onto the cookie sheet... use a spatula to spread it out into something resembling a single layer. It doesn't need to look perfect, that's for sure, but definitely work quickly because as the mixture cools it becomes a lot harder to work with. In about 20 minutes it will cool completely and set. You can then break it apart with your hands, pop a piece in your mouth and make all sorts of happy noises (my personal favorite is "nom nom nom") cuz you just made some deeeelicious peanut brittle :)
Note: if you use dry-roasted peanuts, do not add them at the beginning... instead, add them in with the butter and vanilla.