Recipe courtesy of Virginia Willis
Yield: 2 pounds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup cold water, plus more for brushing the pan
1 pinch kosher salt
3 cups unsalted raw blanched peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon red food coloring, optional (see note)
1. Using 1 tablespoon butter, butter a marble slab or a rimmed baking sheet, or line a rimmed baking sheet with a nonstick silicone baking mat. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan with high sides, bring sugar, corn syrup, ½ cup water, and salt to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
3. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture reaches hard-ball stage on a candy thermometer (250° to
266°), swirling pan occasionally. Brush the sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystals from forming. Stir in peanuts, and continue cooking, stirring frequently to prevent peanuts from burning, until mixture is light amber and peanuts are golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.
4. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter and vanilla. Stir in baking soda; mixture will foam up in pan. Add food coloring, if desired, and stir to combine. Immediately pour mixture onto prepared marble slab or baking sheet.
5. Using a buttered offset spatula, quickly spread in an even layer about ½ inch thick. Slip buttered spatula under hot candy to loosen edges and bottom. Let stand until completely cool, 45 to 60 minutes. Break brittle into large pieces. Store in an airtight container, layered between pieces of wax paper, at room temperature for up to 1 month.
Note: Red food coloring is optional, but it adds a touch of festivity to the holiday candy tin. Start with a few drops.