The Reason Your Homemade Peanut Brittle Doesn't Have Enough Crunch

Peanut brittle is always a good idea. Although the crunchy confection often makes appearances around the holidays, it's just as good any other time of the year. Peanut brittle combines sweet, salty, crunchy, and nutty flavors into one incredibly satisfying candy. If you love it as much as we do you might even have a favorite recipe that you break out whenever you're in need of a housewarming gift or a treat for yourself.

If you've ever attempted homemade peanut brittle, you may also have ended up with a result that looked amazing but was less than crunchy, perhaps it was even chewy, which defeats the purpose of brittle. You may have used all the right ingredients and followed the steps with precision but the problem was likely the temperature. If it is even a couple of degrees off, you'll lose the crunch completely. To avoid this in the future, the mixture needs to be at least 300 degrees Fahrenheit to result in a crunchy candy.

Take the temperature

Candy-making can be tricky. While you can throw a little of this and a little of that into your midweek stir-fry, precision is everything when it comes to DIY confections, not just with ingredient measurements but with temperature. With peanut brittle, there is a point in the process where you add baking soda to the bubbling mixture of prior ingredients. That mixture needs to be no more than 305 degrees Fahrenheit to result in a crunchy candy. This is known in candy-making as the hard crack stage. You definitely don't want to stick your finger to determine if it's done. You absolutely need a candy thermometer to do this job for you.

Just one degree too cool will make your brittle not so brittle, which is true for any kind of nut brittle you make like almond or pumpkin seed brittle. If you are in a pinch and don't have a thermometer specifically for candy, you can use a digital thermometer, as long as it will measure temps as high as 300 degrees. Keep in mind, though, candy thermometers are designed to attach to your cooking vessel and will keep your hands away from that dangerously hot sugar. Your digital version may not be so kind to your hands and you'll want both of them to enjoy that homemade brittle you've worked so hard on.