Soft Peanut Brittle Update 1
Sadly, the original recipe for soft peanut brittle I linked to located at The Nut Factory’s page was taken down. In the meantime, I’m going to try a few other soft peanut brittle recipes and will update soon. Thanks.
Soft Peanut Brittle Update 2
Okay! Here’s another version of soft peanut brittle. This makes 1 1/4 pounds, and in my opinion it’s more reliable than the other recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Soft Peanut Brittle
A peanut brittle with a texture a little softer than a Butterfinger candy bar. For best results, weigh out your peanut butter and use a thick, nonstick saucepan.
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
- 1 cup 250 grams peanut butter, mainstream type like regular JIF or Skippy
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3/4 cup 150 grams granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup 210 grams light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon 14 grams butter
- 1 cup Spanish peanuts lightly salted or unsalted
- Extra peanuts finely chopped, for sprinkling on top (optional)
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick foil or parchment paper.
- Dissolve baking soda in water and set next to the stove.
- In a microwave-safe bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, heat the peanut butter for 30 seconds or until it is soft and warm. Add the vanilla to the peanut butter.
- Combine the 2 tablespoons water, sugar and corn syrup in a large, heavy, nonstick saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer reads 275F. Lower heat slightly, add butter and and peanuts and stir constantly over medium until candy thermometer reads 300 degrees.
- Remove from heat. Quickly stir in baking soda mixture and softened peanut butter mixture. Pour candy onto prepared cookie sheet and spread as thinly as you can. If you have trouble spreading it, grab a second sheet of parchment paper or non-stick foil and press it down slightly. It should be no more than 1/2 inch thick, but preferably thinner.
- Sprinkle the finely chopped nuts over the top if desired.
To get the right level of sweetness, it's best to use mainstream peanut butter. I've made this with natural style and while it's okay, it's not quite as sturdy and definitely not as sweet. The chopped peanuts are to make the candy look a little nicer. Some batches are prettier than others. Also, the recipe calls for Spanish peanuts, but I can never find those and have had success with dry roasted peanuts.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
I have a printed copy of the Nut Factory recipe I could send you, it’s my favorite too.
Good luck! You might want to consider using a deep thermometer instead of a candy thermometer. I have a Taylor deep fry thermometer and I like it because it’s a little easier to read and it has a metal lip so you can rest it on the bottom center of the pan.
Thanks Anna. I love anything with lots of nuts in it, I always put extra extra pecans in my pecan pies. I love peanut brittle only sometimes now that my teeth are not as stable as they were when I was younger the hard brittle can be hard to eat. Haven’t tried this recipe as yet but plan to very soon. I am also a big fan of peanut butter.
Thanks to Pat for instructions on checking candy thermometer, never very good with eye-balling candy stages but have difficulty using thermometers. Will try checking thermometer with this method first.
Hope to have great success.
Thanks so much for the nice comment, and I’m glad it worked out for you and that you can carry on your grandmother’s tradition :).
I made this as a last minute addition to my “holiday baking bonanza” this past Christmas and it turned out absolutely perfect! My grandmother has made this for as long as I can remember (55+ years), but she hasn’t been able to make it the last couple of years. I have not been able to find her recipe and am so happy to have found yours Anna! It looks and tastes exactly the same as hers and was a smash with everyone we shared with over the holidays. Thank you so much for posting this, now I will be the one making it for all of our family instead of grandma, what an honor!!
Sounds interesting! I have never heard of a version without peanut butter, but that sounds interesting. Maybe someone else will chime in.
I am looking for a recipe for soft peanut brittle with no peanut butter. The ingredients in this are sugar and oil. Just wondering what the process is??
For everyone running into issues with your candy being to hard or too soft. Check your thermometer. If you live at a higher altitude like I do, you have to calibrate the thermometer. Place it in boiling water and see what temp reads. It should be at 212 if it is boiling at a lower temp then adjust the recipe by the number of degrees difference. At my altitude water bills at 203 so I adjust my temps down by 9 degrees. I also double check using the water method.
Thanks Bob! I’m going to try it this week.
Bob Ryno Spokane, Wa
………. PEANUT BUTTER BRITTLE ……….
1 1/2 Cups white sugar soft-ball”: 234-240°F
1 1/2 Cups white syrup firm-ball”: 244-248°F
1/4 Cup cold water hard-ball”: 250-266°F
1 tsp soda mix 2 tsp water soft-crack”: 270-290°
1 tsp vanilla hard-crack”: 295-310°F
2 Tablespoons margarine
2 Cups Skippy Peanut Butter (Or Safeway Creamy) Dont use old peanut butter.
2 Cups (1 bowl) Spanish unsalted Peanuts (2 lbs= 3 bowls or 6 cups.)
Use a good metal candy thermometer. Leave it in until the final blending of the peanut butter. If the product goes over the two limits I list, it will turn out HARD.
Cook the sugar,syrup, water in Heavy sauce pan on high heat, stir alot cook to 260 degrees. Immediately Remove from burner, and lower the stove heat to medium.
(It should have turned light yellow tan; this is the right color. If you cook it hotter, it turns darker
brown, and will turn out darker and be harder.)
While off the burner, Immediately add the margarine and stir vigrously. Immediately add the peanuts. Cook on Medium. ¾ if it takes more than 4 to 5 minutes to come up to 270/275. Stir continuously, cooking for 4 to 5 minutes to 265/270 degrees. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the dissolved pre mixed
combination of the 1 soda & 2 water.
(When starting a batch, Put peanut butter and vanilla in double boiler. Soften the peanut butter.)
Add the peanut butter as the last step.
Blend together well. Pour on to (spray with Pam) 13×18 pan with sides. Spread evenly with two frozen dinner forks. You must work QUICKLY.
Too much water will make the product too wet and stickey. The brand of peanut butter is critical. Do Not use peanut butter with oil on top of it. Use ONLY creamy. SKIPPY IS BEST.
I live at 1900 feet above sea level. The temperatures I listed work best at this altitude. REMBER you are making SOFT Peanut butter brittle, NOT HARD CRACK.
All ingredients are off the shelf at any super market. Shop wisely or your cost per pound will be way too high.
This is a recipe from a 89 year old friend. It is similar to the Davenport Hotels Peanut butter Brittle. We have used it and made some changes in the directions. We have spent 25 years making about 14 batches each Christmas. Be prepared to have many friend wanting you to make it all the time.
Kathy, thanks for the insight! I always flub up the syrup trick so a thermometer works best for me, but my secret is to use a deep thermometer rather than one of the cheaper bulb thermometers. I have a deep thermometer that has a small base so you can kind of position it in the center and let it rest somewhat. A lot of people like instant read thermometers, too. But I think you are onto something in regards to thermometers, because people might be using bulb thermometers that attach to the side of the pot and don’t always give an accurate reading due to their position.
To answer your question about making it a little softer, the key to that MIGHT be adding more peanut butter rather than taking it off at a different heat. But like I said, I am not very good at using the ice water method so your guess is probably better than mine.
It is interesting the some can make it perfect and some not. In my opinion, the problem is depending on thermometers. It is better to use a small cup of ice water and get the syrup to the correct soft ball or hard ball stage. Then mix in the peanut butter. We made the recipe our first time. Temp never would get past 250. But on ice water the syrup was nearly hard ball stage. So we mixed everything and spread on the waxed paper in a cookie sheet. I just tested it and it is cool and it is soft peanut brittle but not quite as soft as I would like. I’m thinking the syrup should get to a medium soft, not soft soft ball stage in the ice water. Any thoughts from candy makers who use the ice water method?
Hi Charlene, it sounds like you have Natural Jif, which should be plenty sweet. I think they call it natural because instead of using hydrogenated vegetable oil, they use palm oil and it separates “naturally”. You don’t have to stir it much, but it does separate more than regular Jif. I have both peanut butters here in front of me and they both have 3 grams of sugar.
So that’s interesting that it wasn’t sweet enough for you. Did you make any other substitutions with the corn syrup or sugar? Maybe you erred on the side of less corn syrup than more and it made a difference?
Thanks for your quick reply. It may be the peanut butter. I just checked the jar and it says “Natural” and “no need to stir” so I’m wondering if it is different than what I usually buy. If you have some on hand, perhaps you would compare for me. It says 3 grams of sugar for 2 Tbsps. peanut butter. I tasted the peanut butter and it doesn’t seem as sweet as I remember.
Thanks for trying it! I have to say, I do not remember it being less sweet. That’s interesting that yours turned out less sweet. Could you have left out some sugar?
Just made this and the verdict is still out. It is not very sweet, surprisingly. Does it improve with age? I used regular peanut butter. Thanks.
Angie, thanks for daring to try it! And I really appreciate your helpful tips. It is a good recipe, but it takes practice.
Oh, and I also used a very inexpensive non-stick pan. I think the main thing it the candy thermometer and pre-measuring as much of the ingredients as possibly ‘before’ putting the sugar, syrup, and water mixture on to heat. Have the peanut butter pre-warmed, with the vanilla mixed into it…and have the baking soda and water mixed up in a separate little ramekin. Have the butter in another ramekin and the peanuts in another…make sure to have all of these separated ramekins sitting right next to the stove where you are heating the sugar/syrup mixture. This will ensure that you get all of the ingredients added as quickly as possible as SOON each required temperature is achieved. I think that is one of the ‘key’ secrets to this turning out perfect. 🙂
I LOVE this recipe! I made probably 12 batches of it last Christmas and every one came out perfect! Love love love IT!!!
Thanks for the comment! I’ve also made it a number of times without any incidents and can’t make any other changes to the recipe other than recommend people use thick, nonstick cookware. I never heard back from Stephanie as to what type of pan she was using, and it’s possible she was trying to eyeball the candy rather than use a thermometer. Personally, I ruin candy when I try to eyeball it. The thermometer is a must.
Hi Anna, I’ve made this recipe literally a bajillion times and it has come out perfect every single time so thanks for sharing it! I’ve used non-stick pans, some pretty inexpensive, and it hasn’t ever caused a problem. The only reason I can imagine for failure is if the candy thermometer used wasn’t accurate.
Interesting that it’s working for some and not for others. It may have something to do with the type of saucepan that people are using. For instance, when I make fudge I have to use a thick, nonstick Anolon type pan rather than metal All-Clad or the fudge comes out grainy and hard. It probably has something to do with the way the pan is conducting heat and the way the thermometer is measuring that heat. I’m going to make it again and see if I can pinpoint any issues. If you have time, would you mind telling me what kind of saucepan you used? That is, was it metal (like All-Clad) or was it a cheaper, thicker, dark coated pan.
I have tried this recipe and many others in an attempt to make “soft” peanut brittle. This recipe is just as useless as all the others. No offense intended, I absolutely love your other recipes. Making candy like this is just too easy to mess up. It is probably best to leave this to the pros. 🙂
Ver interested in soft peanut brittle recipe doing it in the microwace. Have an ill friend who loves peanut brittle but can’t eat the real hard type. I have tried this recipe in the micro with no avail. Adjusting times and using a candy thermometer but no luck. Would so appreciate this recipe. Thank you
Thanks for the tips! Hopefully they’ll help people out. I loved this recipe and a few people I know request this peanut brittle every year.
I loved this recipe! I brought some to work for Christmas and EVERYONE wants a copy. Thank you so much! A local candy store sells this for way too much money and mine turned out just as good as theirs! Thanks again and Merry Christmas! A note to those who had problems, just follow the recipe exactly. Dont add extra water. I added the soda 1st to make it fluffy then added the peanut butter. And I thought I screwed up my 1st batch because it went over the temp it was supposed to reach, I wasnt prepared, but it still turned out great. Dont stress. After that I put my vanilla and soda in 2 seperate cups so when the time came it was all measured out and I just threw it in. Thanks again for a great recipe!
I was so excited to try this, but it didn’t turn out. I didn’t quite see how 1/4 cup water was going be enough to mix all the sugar and bring to a boil, so I added just a bit more. Then it didn’t set up right, either. It is sticky gooey mess.
Just writing in response to those whose candy turned out too hard. I have made this many times and will never make the mistake again of using a top piece of wax paper to smoosh it down in the pan. Instead, I use two forks and, working frantically, spread it as evenly as possible. This candy is supposed to look imperfect but the taste more than compensates.
I was thinking now that maybe I should cook the corn syrup mixture longer? I’m not very experienced with candy making and maybe it just didn’t get to the “hard crack stage” ?
I bet it’s very yummy when it comes out right! 😉
I don’t know what I did wrong.. I’m very careful at following recipes, but mine came out very much like chewy taffy or caramel almost. Nothing like described, after looking forward to eating it and wasting all the ingredients. It’s just difficult and messy to eat, and not so great. Oh well.. I’ll try a different recipe maybe.
It could definitely be that the baking soda is a little old. I about killed my poor husband with flat, hard pancakes the other morning … ooops! Sorry honey!
Kerry, just do what I do and blame the microwave. I can’t cook anything in that thing! I I can reheat things, but that’s it. Why don’t you try a regular peanut brittle recipe in a saucpan?
I made microwave Peanut brittle and it is hard but sticky and chewy.. Any ideas what causes this. I am so upset since my husband thinks I can make anything.
Hi again, didn’t cook the peanut butter, but I did add the PB to the pan rather than the syrup to the PB- but I don’t think that is enough to cause the dramatic hardness… could it be old baking soda? Mine is a bit old.
Let me know how your next batch works out! thanks,
No, I haven’t encountered that, but I don’t make this recipe very often. I am going to make it again for a friend so I’ll see if I can troubleshoot for you. With all that peanut butter added at the end, it should not be hard. Did you accidentally cook the peanut butter?
Hi- I tried this recipe, and mine came out as extremely hard candy. I’m guessing it cooked too long, but I followed the temps you have listed. Have you encountered this? Any suggestions?
I love anything with peanut butter.
Your blog is full of so many delicious recipes, Anna!
Woops! Missed that post. But yep, great minds think alike…
Ha Ha! Maggi, you should read what I posted last week about Mexican Wedding cookies. I guess we both like the same quotes ;).
Ah yes… There is a saying that goes, A child with many names is a child that is loved many times. As is the case with this candy. I have seen this candy called Sponge Candy, Seafoam Candy, Honeycomb Candy etc. etc… It is quite tasty and very easy to make. Thanks for posting it!