Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle and Other Homemade Christmas Treats

November 28, 2023

Christmas peanut brittle

Make the most addicting homemade peanut brittle to enjoy throughout the Christmas season, plus share some with friends and family as a quick and thoughtful holiday gift!



COOK + BAKE   |   Updated November 25, 2023



Pieces of peanut brittle









At Christmas, it seems as though we tend to stick to our favorite recipes over something new.


Although I may try a new recipe or two during the holiday, more often than not I return to the same tried-and-true cookies and candies knowing they are what everyone enjoys most. And with so much to do during the season, I'd much prefer to spend my time preparing what I know turns out well, rather than experimenting to get the recipe right.


One of my favorite Christmas treats is my mom's homemade peanut brittle. (Chocolate covered cherry cordials and her "famous" peanut butter fudge are my other must-haves.) It is a recipe she has been perfecting for as long as I can remember.






This candy is a classic addicting sugary treat and many batches are made throughout the month of December. You'll want to keep a container filled with this peanut brittle close by because you'll be reaching for it all season!


Although you can buy peanut brittle in the store, there is nothing better than the version made over your own stove top. With minimal ingredients, it is actually a quite economical treat that can even serve as a great homemade gift for friends, neighbors, or your children's teachers. Package it in a decorative tin, glass jar, or a cellophane bag tied with a decorative tag.









Pieces of peanut brittle on linen napkin
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Tips for Making the Peanut Brittle Successfully


I love knowing the hints and tricks behind a successful recipe, so let me explain a few things that you can do for making the best old-fashioned peanut brittle.


MEASURE BEFORE STARTING


While I always recommend getting your baking supplies ready and measured before beginning any recipe, it is especially important with this particular one to have all of your supplies prepared before you begin.

The peanut brittle mixture is very hot and when it gets to the done stage, you need to be able to move quickly adding in the final ingredients and spreading the mixture into the pan. There is no time to waste searching for ingredients or measuring.


BAKING SHEET IN THE OVEN


The peanut brittle mixture will spread easier in a warmed pan, so it is best if you place your baking sheet into a 350° oven as you start preparing the candy. Pull it out not long before the candy is ready to be spread, setting it on a large cutting board or other heat resistant surface.






THIS RECIPE USES RAW PEANUTS


You'll want to be sure that you use raw (blanched) peanuts to make this peanut brittle. They are a light beige color, skinless, and are not salted or roasted or in the shell.

My mom has always used peanuts packaged by Howe, a company in our state of PA. You may be able to find this brand or something similar in your local grocery stores or Walmart. You can also find raw peanuts by the pound on Amazon.


MAKE SURE YOUR BAKING SODA IS FRESH


Of all the ingredients in peanut brittle, the baking soda may be the most important. It is necessary to create the right texture in the candy and allow you to spread it thin and break it into pieces. Basically, the baking soda is what makes the peanut brittle.....brittle.

It must be fresh to work properly and it is always a good idea if you haven't bought any in awhile, that you get a new box when ready to prepare this recipe.






NO CANDY THERMOMETER NEEDED


Most recipes for making peanut brittle involve using a candy thermometer. And you are welcome to research the correct temperatures and use it for this one, too. But it isn't necessary.

The trick is to watch to watch for the nuts and sauce mixture to turn a golden brown color. And when it is ready, you'll notice the mixture takes on a caramelized smell. The whole candy making process takes about 15 minutes.




Stack of pieces of peanut brittle




What You'll Need


For your convenience, a full ingredients list, directions for making old-fashioned peanut brittle, and a printable recipe option appear further down in this article. Here is a brief overview of what you'll need to gather.


  • light corn syrup
  • salt
  • granulated sugar
  • unsalted butter- - if you use salted butter, leave the salt out of the recipe
  • raw blanched peanuts - not salted, roasted, or in the shell
  • baking soda







How to Make Peanut Brittle


Now that you have all the ingredients ready, it is time to make some peanut brittle!


STEP 1: PREPARE YOUR PAN


Grease a large, shallow baking sheet (half sheet size) with cooking spray. Place the pan in a preheated 350° oven. You'll be removing the pan shortly before the mixture is ready to spread.


STEP 2: COOK THE SUGAR MIXTURE


Combine the corn syrup, salt, sugar, and butter in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.


STEP 3: ADD THE PEANUTS


Add the raw peanuts to the sauce and increase the heat to high, stirring constantly until the peanuts and sauce become a golden brown color. You'll notice a caramelized smell when it is ready and may hear the peanuts begin to pop. This will take approximately 10 to 14 minutes. Just before it is ready, remove the prepared baking sheet from the oven.






STEP 4: ADD BAKING SODA


Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda. This causes a reaction that will make your mixture bubble up a bit, so you want to be sure that you are using a large saucepan to contain it all. The mixture is very hot.


STEP 6: POUR IT ONTO THE BAKING SHEET


Quickly pour the peanut brittle mixture from the pan and spread it into a thin, even layer onto your baking sheet with the wooden spoon. It will harden quickly. Allow it to cool completely for about 30 minutes, then break it into pieces to enjoy.




Pieces of golden peanut brittle in loaf pan




OLD-FASHIONED PEANUT BRITTLE RECIPE


Make the most addicting homemade peanut brittle to enjoy throughout the Christmas season, plus share some with friends and family as a quick and thoughtful holiday gift!


PRINT RECIPE





INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup raw peanuts (about 1/2 a pound)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


INSTRUCTIONS


STEP 1: Grease a large, shallow baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the pan in a preheated 350° oven.

STEP 2: Combine the corn syrup, salt, sugar, and butter in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

STEP 3: Add the raw peanuts and increase the heat to high, stirring constantly until the peanuts and sauce become a golden brown color. You'll notice a caramelized smell when it is ready. This will take about 10 to 14 minutes. Just before it is ready, remove the prepared baking sheet from the oven.

STEP 4: Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda. This causes a reaction that will make your mixture bubble, so be sure you are using a large saucepan to contain it all.

STEP 5: Quickly pour the peanut brittle mixture from the pan and spread it into a thin, even layer onto your baking sheet with the wooden spoon. It will harden quickly. Allow it to cool completely for about 30 minutes, then break into pieces.






Pieces of peanut brittle on marble counter




Frequently Asked Questions


Have some questions about making peanut brittle? Here are some frequently asked ones that might help.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE BAKING SODA


Baking soda is crucial to this recipe. It causes a chemical reaction that creates the right texture in the candy. When it is added to the hot sugar mixture, the baking soda reacts to produce carbon dioxide gas. This creates small air pockets throughout the peanut brittle. It is always best to open a new box when you are ready to prepare this recipe to ensure that it is fresh.


HOW DO YOU STORE PEANUT BRITTLE


Peanut brittle is a long lasting treat. Once it is cooled, you can store the pieces in an airtight container at room temperature for six to eight weeks. It will last long after the holiday has passed.

If you house is abnormally humid, it would suggest separating the layer of peanut brittle with waxed paper to keep it from sticking, but otherwise, I've never had a problem tossing all the pieces into a tin or container.

Do not refrigerate peanut brittle because the moisture in the fridge will make the candy soften.






CAN THIS RECIPE BE DOUBLED


I don't suggest doubling or tripling the batch of peanut brittle because it can be hard to stir that much of the hot caramelized sauce and get it spread quickly enough before it hardens. If you need more peanut brittle, I would make separate batches on individual pans.


HOW DO YOU CLEAN THE PAN


After you have made your batch of peanut brittle, let the saucepan cool off slightly and then fill it with warm soapy water and let it sit. The water will melt off the candy. If you find that it is still hard to remove, place it back on a warm burner for a few minutes and allow the caramel to melt off the sides of the pan.





Peanut brittle chunks



I hope that this recipe has inspired you to try making some old-fashioned peanut brittle for this Christmas season.







Some More Christmas Recipes You Might Enjoy



CRANBERRY PISTACHIO BISCOTTI

SOUR CREAM COOKIES - My all-time favorite cookie recipe anytime of the year.

CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY CORDIALS - How to make them like the fancy chocolate shop candies in your own kitchen!

PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE - Plus tips for making any flavor of the best fudge you've ever had!

CRANBERRY CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES















MORE CHRISTMAS TREATS YOU'LL WANT TO TRY



This post is part of the Tastes of the Season series hosted by Kristen of Ella Clair & Co. Which ones do you want to experiment with this Christmas?


Click here to see all of my previous Tastes of the Season posts.






Peppermint Whipped Cream by Ella Claire & Co. | Fondant Christmas Cupcakes by Craftberry Bush | Old Fashioned Peanut Brittle by anderson + grant | Dairy Free 6 Ingredient Salted Caramels by Zevy Joy | No Bake Healthy Coconut Bars by Tidbits





Easy Peppermint Bark by Jenna Kate at Home | Black Walnut Christmas Cake by Inspired by Charm | Chocolate Covered Marshmallows with Salted Pretzel Topping by Boxwood Avenue | Christmas Popcorn by Town and Country Living | Snowman Cheese Ball by Julie Blanner








Slow Cooker Candied Pecans by Live Laugh Rowe | Fudgy Peppermint Coconut Flour Brownies by Farmhouse on Boone | Hot Peppermint Mocha by Shabbyfufu | Homemade Take 5 Peanut Butter Cups by Chronicles of Home | Slow Cooker Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels by Nest of Posies





Berry Topped Chocolate Cake by French Country Cottage | Pecan Butter Tart Bars by So Much Better With Age | Chocolate Pinecones by My Sweet Savannah | Peanut Butter Fudge by My 100 Year Old Home | Simple Holiday Fudge by House 214 Design





Coffee Cake by Rooms for Rent



How to make peanut brittle

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