Grandma Milburn’s Peanut Brittle

Peanut brittle is one of my husband’s favorite Christmastime treats, so I make it almost every year.  It’s a little bit of a hassle, but it’s not hard.  This is my grandma’s recipe, but I’ve added some details for those of you who are not used to making candy.

2 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1/2 c. water
1 t. salt
1 T. butter (the real stuff)
1-2 c. raw Spanish peanuts (I usually only use one cup.)
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

In non-stick stockpot, cook sugar, water, corn syrup, butter and salt, stirring often, to 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Add peanuts and cook to 275, stirring often.

Add vanilla and cook to 300, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add soda.  The mixture will foam up once the soda is added; stir good and fast until well-mixed!  This is easily scorched at this point, so make sure you remove from heat and stir, stir, stir!!

Pour onto parchment paper or buttered cookies sheets (2 or 3 standard cookie sheets will be needed if you go that route.)  Repeatedly spread hot mass with spreader or spatula until it starts to cool and darkens in color.

Allow to harden and break into pieces.  Stores very well in airtight containers.

NOTE:  It’s a good idea to have ingredients already measured so that they can be dumped in at appropriate temperatures while you can continue stirring.



Chewy Chocolate Caramel Bars


Recently, my kids did me a huge favor.  They provided childcare at one of my Eat Cheap! classes free of charge.  There was a whole passle of kids, and the majority were age three and under.  Prior to the class, my kids knew one of them.  So, you can imagine how excited the majority of the little ones were about hanging out with my crew.  It was pretty intense!  Anyway, I told them afterward how much I appreciated both their willingness to help as well as their stick-to-itiveness in the midst of the chaos.

Here’s what I made for them in “payment”:

2 c. rolled oats
1 3/4 c. flour, divided
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 t. baking soda
1 c. butter, melted
1 bag of baking caramels, unwrapped plus 2 T. milk (melted together) OR 1 c. caramel ice cream topping
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9×13 with cooking spray.

Combine oats, 1 1/2 c. flour, brown sugar and baking soda; stir in melted butter with a fork until crumbly.  Set aside 1 c. crumb mixture; press the remainder of crumb mixture into pan.  Bake 15 minutes.

Mix caramel and 1/4 c. flour until smooth.  Drizzle over crust, spreading to edges.

Sprinkle reserved crumbles over caramel, then sprinkle chocolate chips over that.

Bake 18-ish minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Cool completely (if you can stand the wait) before cutting into bars.  (Otherwise, use a spoon to serve.)