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Old 12-04-2006, 04:48 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philso
those granma's were pretty crafty, weren't they. they avoided having to wash or worry about candy thermometers by noting that at the right temperature, after the first 1 or 2 big globs came off the wooden spoon, something looking like fiberglass or fishing line ("thread" in culinary terminolgy) was left hanging from the spoon.

commonly, the money saved on buying a candy thermometer was well spent on hooch from the local rumrunner or speakeasy.
Grandpa brewed beer in the basement, no need to buy hooch, just hops! I'm not even sure they made candy thermometers back in the 1920's and '30's.
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Old 12-04-2006, 08:43 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philso
hey rob, what's the baking soda doing in the recipe? i'm not seeing anything that it would react with. peanut brittle seemed so strait forward, that i've never bothered to actually look a recipe up.

i like pecans and hazelnuts better than peanuts, myself.
The baking soda reacts with the sugar. That's what gives the brittle the distinctive color and flavor. If you leave out the baking soda, you get a clear, hard sugar candy.
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Old 12-04-2006, 06:52 PM   #23
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I believe AllenOK is correct,
It is an acid within the sugar that reacts with the baking soda to release the carbon dioxide. This is actually going to make the Brittle more Brittle by adding the air to the mixture. It is going to add a little color but most of the color comes from taking the temperature of the brittle up to 305-310...the temp at which sugar starts to caramelize. The butter assists in the color as well...as it darkens at much lower temps...

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Old 12-04-2006, 10:42 PM   #24
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well, i was never any good in highschool chemistry, and i'm too lazy to google it (says a lot about me) my guess that any acidic minerals found in cane sugar sap are thoroughly removed by the time it gets to be granulated white sugar. i could definitely be wrong here though. it wouldn't be the first time. maybe someone more enterprising could do the research.

anyway, i simply start with as much sugar as i want to use, add enough water to wet it out, and cook until it just starts to caramelize. by the time i mix in the nuts, it's caramalized a bit more, to about the right taste for me. seems to be about the same as any other peanut brittle, but i've never done a side-by-side comparison.
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Old 12-14-2006, 10:26 AM   #25
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I tried the first recipe last night, but do not have a candy thermo. So I tried to do the old fashioned way hehe. Well let me just tell you it did not turn out. It did not set so I had a sticky gloop of peanuts...
Well I am not one to waste things so decided to pop a batch of popcorn and try the gloop on it and see if I could make a popcorn ball like my mom used to make. Well instead I put it in the oven at 250 and camalized it to make one great batch of carmel corn!!!! I am so pleased that something so great came out of a horrible mistake.
I am going to post this in the carmel corn thread I read the other day. I think this is easier to do then some of the recipes I saw. The key would be to let it cool before mixing with the popcorn so you dont melt the corn.
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Old 12-14-2006, 10:38 AM   #26
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actualy if I may,

Bicarb doesn`t react as such with the sugar, what Does happen is that the heat in the sugar is sufficiently high enough to decompose the bicarb.
NaHCO3 + Heat (543 kelvin) = Na2CO3 + H2O + CO2

it`s the heat thing that does it :)
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Old 12-14-2006, 04:41 PM   #27
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Thanks for your input..I have read that it was the sugar but I was slightly sceptical...although I wasn't educated enough in that science to know for sure...where did you learn that info?

Thanks for sharing,
Robert
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:43 PM   #28
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543 kelvin ??? is there an english translation of this?

this i posted for rob in a previous unrelated thread:

i've been wondering about the baking soda/sugar thing in the peanut brittle from that other post, so while the brownies were in the oven, i went ahead and experimented a bit. i made a half glass of simple syrup and added about 1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon of soda to it. i stand corrected. white sugar apparently does have some acidic minerals left in it to react with the soda. however, the action is very gentle, almost barely noticable. tasting it, it left a very unpleasant bitter aftertaste in my mouth for quite a long time (even after about 2 shots or so of kahlua). the fizzing action being so little, i think that the main reason for it being in the recipe is the taste. at the ratio i used, it was pretty yukky, but, like bitters in a drink, the right amount probably provides a nice balance to the sweetness of the brittle, maybe akin to quinine in tonic water. just thought i'd pass this along, too.


YT2095 - as the resident science guy (compared to some of us at least [read "me"]) maybe you could give us your take on what the baking soda is contributing to the final product in peanut brittle. a touch of bitterness to balance the sweetness? bubbles to affect the bite? a bit of both? none of the above?

we may end up having to cook up two batches, with and without, to get to the bottom of this. what a calamity! at least it won't be as fatty as two batches of brownies! lol
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Old 12-14-2006, 08:29 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philso
i've been wondering about the baking soda/sugar thing in the peanut brittle from that other post, so while the brownies were in the oven, i went ahead and experimented a bit. i made a half glass of simple syrup and added about 1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon of soda to it. i stand corrected. white sugar apparently does have some acidic minerals left in it to react with the soda. however, the action is very gentle, almost barely noticable. tasting it, it left a very unpleasant bitter aftertaste in my mouth for quite a long time
Simple syrup isn't hot enough, for one thing, nor the right consistency. Peanut brittle isn't a syrup! It also doesn't have the flavour from having cooked the raw peanuts for a long time in the sugar/water combo or the addition of butter. No wonder it tasted nasty!

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Old 12-14-2006, 08:53 PM   #30
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Well I know this for a fact that the baking soda is used for taste and texture...I know this because the master confectioner I worked under would go taste peanut brittle and caramel corns that had baking soda in it and comment on if it had to much or too little because of the taste...He said it was an important part...also the texture is something we want...it makes the brittle more brittle...So it works for taste and texture...I just can't tell you scientifically why that baking soda is activated...

Robert
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