So my quest to make beer brittle started…

Hold up, beer brittle?

Yes, beer brittle…don’t knock it till you try it!

My quest to make beer brittle started when I walked past a display of it in the grocery store and thought hmm, beer, peanuts, caramel?  These are all things I like, oh and hey! This sign here says it’s only $4.

Wrong!  At the cash register I found out each tiny bag was $11.GRRrr, mislabeling, but I didn’t feel like putting it back…and I kind of still wanted to try it so I just went with it.

With a guilty conscious on having spent so much on candy, especially something as weird as beer brittle, I opened the bag and WOW, what a find! Its flavor can only be described as heavenly. Crunchy, loaded with peanuts, and a buttery richness that melts in your mouth with each bite.  I had to have more!

Just not at $11/bag. Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth every penny, I just don’t have very many pennies.

So, after thorough research, and not finding a single reliable recipe for beer brittle I settled on a recipe for regular peanut brittle that seemed straightforward enough for a first time candy maker. I then went back to the evil empire that is Giant Eagle and bought myself a candy thermometer, a bag of peanuts, and some light corn syrup and let the fun begin.

Before this project, I had this notion that any recipe that involved a candy thermometer must be unbelievably complicated. I could not have been further from the truth! A candy thermometer like most (but not all) kitchen tools makes cooking so much easier. Instead of guessing when the sugar is just the right amount browned, or using weird methods like the smelling technique (yes I read this somewhere) it tells you.  What could be more simple?  On a side note…I used to think the same thing about meat thermometers, when in reality they make cooking meat absolutely dummy proof.

So here we go.  Yes, there’s a candy thermometer, but don’t be intimidated, it’s your friend!

This recipe was adapted from Joy of Baking.

Beer Brittle:

1 tbsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp unsalted butter

½ cup water

½ cup beer (ale)

1 cup light corn syrup

2 cups white granulated sugar

1/8 tsp salt

2 cups raw peanuts

Butter two cookie sheets.  Put the butter, baking soda, and vanilla in a dish and set aside.  Add the water, beer, corn syrup, sugar, and peanuts to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Clip the candy thermometer to the pot so the tip is in the syrup but not touching the bottom.  Simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the thermometer reads 275 – 300. Remove from heat and quickly add the remaining ingredients, stirring until smooth. It will bubble a lot!  Spread onto two cookie sheets.  After about a minute, carefully (it might still be hot) stretch the peanut brittle until it is thin. You might want to wear gloves for this step.

Notes:

As the temperature rises, stir more frequently to keep the peanuts from burning.

Also, the temperature will rise slowly at first, but as soon as it hits 275 it will rise quickly, so be mindful not to let it overheat!

I love this picture because it makes my stove look clean. That would probably be camera trickery, but hey, picture is proof right!

As for beer, I used Killians. Pick something you like to drink. Don’t skimp on the beer either, that’s what gives it the richness that separates it from regular old peanut brittle.

Above is the original. Professional lighting and camera’s aside, I think I got pretty close. It may not be quite as magical as Anette’s sigh…but definitely some of the best brittle I’ve ever had!

Katie

PS: If you’d like to learn more about making peanut brittle, here are some explanations of the finer points.

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