By: Taylor Wann
Lt. Colonel Franklin was only known to me as Pa’paw. I do not have many memories of him before he had his stroke, but the ones I have are so dear to me. When we would visit my grandparents at their farm in Arkansas, Pa’Paw and I would go for rides on tractors, fish in one of the many ponds, and eat butterscotch and cinnamon hard candies at the same time. (Try it; it’s delicious!) And if I were lucky, I would get to watch him make peanut brittle.
The big metal pot and long wooden spoon, the smell of sugar caramelizing with peanuts, and the drama when he would add the baking soda—“Stand back, Taylor. It’s gonna bubble up!”—are the memories that are seared into my brain.
When I started to really get into cooking, my Ma’Maw decided to give me the cookbook that contained his famous peanut brittle recipe. The first time I made it, the nostalgia was overwhelming. I cried. I called my Ma’Maw and told her it tasted just like Pa’Paw’s brittle. My hope is that you enjoy Colonel Franklin’s Peanut Brittle with your family, too.
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups sugar
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 cups raw blanched peanuts
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; spray paper with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.
- In a large enamel-coated Dutch oven, cook sugar, 1½ cups water, and corn syrup over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer registers 235°, 20 to 25 minutes. Add peanuts; cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 315°. Remove from heat.
- Stir in vanilla and baking soda, stirring vigorously, 5 to 6 more minutes. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and let cool completely. Remove brittle from parchment paper and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.