Monday, January 3, 2011

Peanut Butter Shale Candy

For years, I made peanut brittle for my father-on-law for every gift-giving holiday. He'd save and savor the candy, making it last until the next holiday. Then, a couple years ago, his doctor banned nuts and seeds. I scrambled for new ideas and made pretzel brittle and bacon brittle.

Then, as an experiment, I tried adding peanut butter directly to the brittle. Whole nuts and seeds had been banned, but peanut butter was just fine. I had no idea what the candy would be like, and I had no idea if he'd like it at all.

Much to my surprise, he said that it was just like a candy that he'd had as a kid, and he hadn't had it since. To me, it tasted sort of like the inside of a Butterfingers candy bar, with the peanut flavor and shattery texture.

But of course, when I made it the first time, it was an experiment, and I didn't bother to write down how I made it. Shortly after, he was able to eat nuts again, so I didn't need to worry about it. But this year, I decided to give it another try, it took a couple attempts before I managed to recreate the candy. This might not be my original version, but it's very peanutty and shattery and not as tooth-damaging as regular peanut brittle.

If you have a Silpat or similar silicon baking sheet, I've found that it's the perfect surface for the candy. Nothing sticks, and you don't need to butter a baking sheet and have buttered candy. 

Use a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer that reads higher temperatures to monitor the temperature of the sugar mixture as it cooks.

Peanut Butter Shale

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

Line a baking sheet with a Silpat, or butter the baking sheet.

In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, combine the water, sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil.

Stir occasionally until the sugar melts, then stir more frequently until the mixture comes up to a temperature of 305 degrees.

Add the peanut butter, vanilla, and baking soda, and stir quickly to combine. The mixture will foam up. Pour immediately on the prepared pan, trying to spread it out evenly.

Allow the candy to cool completely, then break it into pieces.


Lizzy said...

Looks great. I have tried to make a few different types of candy, with no success. Hope I can make this one!

Chef Deb T said...

HI Donna!
My friend and chocolatier, also of Longmont, Robin A.. Of Robin Chocolates, has been making and selling these for years. You can also do this with almond butter, and hazelnut butters.

I hope you don't mind me adding, but people making hard candies should never, NEVER, Never.... stir sugar when making hard candies. It just invites crystallization. I know it "says" so in many cookbooks, but in science based cookbooks, it gives the reason this is not the best technique. It also explains why soooo many people have trouble making candy.

Great post..
Chef Deb T. Longmont, Co

Donna Currie said...

Yup, this is similar to Robin's candy.

If I ever make it again, I'll give it a try without stirring and see if I like the outcome better. With this candy, I don't know if it would make a difference since it's not really solid to begin with, but obviously peanut brittle has a completely different texture. When I make that, I leave it be until it's done.

Good news is that FIL can have nuts gain, so we're back to regular peanut brittles again.

KarmaFree Cooking said...

i'll try to make this using brown sugar... seems really nice indeed!!!

Katarina said...

Looks great!!

Liz said...

Looks yummy!

Any advice for high-altitude candy making? I made a seriously horrific batch of fudge last year and have been a little gun-shy about candy ever since!

Donna Currie said...

Just watch your temperature closely and use a good thermometer. Once it gets past 203 degrees - the boiling point of water where you happen to live - it goes really fast.

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