Marge, I think I am going to fail you miserably, since I have never made candy (or much of anything else) in the microwave! I know I havenâ€™t even turned mine on in at least 2 months â€“ no kidding! But I would bet that youâ€™re right that your palâ€™s new one is more powerful than the last. I think your advice to lower the power is very good advice, indeed. She may have some healthy â€śhot spotsâ€ť in that oven, too.
The thing that bothers me the most (me, not your pal, who has obviously done this well) is the absence of temperature measurements. Looking at the cooking times here, I would need the engineering prowess of Michael in Fort Worth to take the ovenâ€™s wattage and calculate how much heat is being delivered.
I find it interesting that Â˝ cup of water is notably missing in this recipe, as well as about 2/3 of the normal butter. Hmmmmâ€¦ Iâ€™m guessing (totally!) that this is due to the expedited cooking times. Donâ€™t know for sure. But we know her recipe works, so why fiddle with it?
My first advice would be to dust off the old candy thermometer and check its accuracy in a saucepan of fast boiling water. Then adjust your final temperature target according to how much over or below 212 degrees (F) your thermometer reads the boiling water.
I donâ€™t know quite how to advise you here on the stages of cooking in her recipe, but I do know that the final temperature of the syrup, when you traditionally add the butter, vanilla, baking soda and peanuts is 290F.
I would certainly advise that you stir every 30 seconds or so when you blend the sugar with the corn syrup (geez, I really want to add waterâ€¦). Then, under her recipe when the peanuts are added for the next 5 minutes, I would stir at least every minute or so, and take lots of temp readings along the way here.
You will DEFINITELY want to pour this as thinly as possible (donâ€™t spread the stuff) onto a very well-buttered cookie sheet. I use a slab and would recommend you turn that cookie sheet upside down and butter the bottom. It makes pulling this stuff so much easier. As soon as you can just barely stand to touch the candy, start pulling from the corners first. A brittle will set up in a minute or less after pouring it out, so work quickly. But once it gets stiff, leave it alone to cool completely.
Wow. You really handed me a challenge on this one, Marge. And I really doubt any of this helps. Ironically to me, it takes just about the same amount of time to cook this in the microwave as it does on the stovetop!
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is Optional.