Sweet and salty, crunchy and crisp. Old-fashioned peanut brittle is one of my favorite treats to make at home with wholesome, natural sweeteners. I love the buttery flavor, and deep amber color from the coconut sugar. Peanuts, or maybe cashews if you prefer, give a salty and rich flavor to the brittle, as well as delectable texture.
If you look up a recipe for peanut brittle these days, the ingredients read something like this: sugar, corn syrup, butter, peanuts, salt. I do not have much of an issue with them, until refined white sugar and corn syrup are in everything we eat. If you are out, just eat a piece of “regular” peanut brittle. But if you are at home, then it is time to take it up a notch with whole sugar.
Coconut sugar is the evaporated sap from a coconut or palm tree. There are many varieties of palm and coconut tree that may be the source for your coconut or palm sugar. But the short answer to what to buy is this: make it organic and sustainable. You can find good coconut sugar here.
There is a debate about coconut sugar in some circles, where there are claims that because the tree producing coconut sap doesn’t also produce coconuts for coconut oil, dried coconut, and so on, that this is an unsustainable practice.
But I think that there is a clear comparison between tapping a palm or coconut tree for sap and tapping a maple tree for sap. The tree continues to produce for years, and there is plenty of demand for both coconut sugar and coconut oil to encourage the growth of both uses for the trees. I feel quite comfortable using coconut sugar from reputable companies like this one.
- air popper (optional, or use another popping method), two large rectangular baking dishes, parchment paper
- measuring cups and spoons
- large heavy-bottomed saucepan, candy thermometer, wooden spoon
2 cups coconut sugar (buy coconut or palm sugar here)
1 cup honey (buy raw honey here)
1/4 cup butter (how to make grass-fed butter here)
1/2 cup filtered water (buy water filters here)
2 1/2 cups roasted and salted peanuts (buy organic nuts here)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (buy aluminum-free baking soda here)
- Butter the large baking dishes, or just line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, honey, butter and water together over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Lower the heat to medium low and clip on the candy thermometer. Continue boiling the mixture at a steady rate for about 30 minutes or until the temperature registers at the soft crack stage (275 degrees).
- Stir in the peanuts, and continue to cook the mixture for another 15-20 minutes, this time stirring frequently. The mixture should reach hard crack stage (295 degrees).
- Remove the candy thermometer and turn off the heat. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mixture and stir quickly. Pour the mixture immediately into the prepared pans, about half in each pan. Let cool.
- When completely cooled, break the pooled peanut brittle into pieces. Store at room temperature in a covered container.