This was my first attempt at peanut brittle and it came out perfectly! I followed the directions exactly with one exception. I did not add the peanuts until the very end for fear that they would burn. Once the sugar mixture hit the 300 degree mark, I turned off the heat, added the peanuts, gave it a quick stir to blend the peanuts into the mixture and then added the butter/soda which I had waiting in the same dish. It started to clump up immediately and I had a difficult time spreading it on the cookie sheet. I used a cake icing "knife" to spread it, and with some work I got it spread out sufficiently. It set up perfectly, broke apart with ease and tastes SO YUMMY!!!
You really need a candy thermometer for this unless you are experienced at candy making. The chemical makeup of the sugar mixture will change at the 300 degree point and I imagine it would be difficult to see with the peanuts in the mix. If it doesn't hit this temperature the molecules in the syrup will not bond properly with the fat (butter) when you add it, and it will not set properly. Also, It changes dramatically immediately upon adding the butter/soda so I recommend having them in the same dish ready to go when the syrup is ready.
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This was my first attempt at peanut brittle and it came out perfectly! I followed the...