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Old 01-15-2009, 12:30 PM   #1
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What Did I Do? - Brittle

Ok while trying to make peanut brittle I had something odd happen.

I was going on the "Good Eats" method (Tricks for Treats) by placing 3 cups of sugar (plain white from a new bag) in a pot coated with a very little bit of oil over a cast Iron pot (heat diffuser) over med-high heat. I added a cup and a half of water and stired to combine. I clamped on the lid once it started to boil and let it boil for 3 minutes, then puled the lid of and watched it without touching it till it reached 'light amber'

Ok my first time i thought I was at light amber but my poured and cooled brittle was not solid, so I figure i needed to let it go longer, so i fix up for batch two the next day.

batch two started the same way when it got to the point it had tha previous day I just let it go a bit longer. I bubbled a lot and suddenly it seamed to go solid on me! It went from a liquid bubbling goo to a block of what looked like sugar crystal (like the bubbles solidified all at once!

I did not want it to burn so i poured in half a bottle (about a cup and a half) of clean water in and started over.

Brittle came out fine this time, good crack and flavor, translucent color slightly dark Amber.

My question is what was up with it going solid like that?

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Old 01-15-2009, 12:45 PM   #2
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I suggest you use a Candy Thermometer rather than cooking to a color...Peanut or other brittles need to cook to the Hard Crack stage ---
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:45 PM   #3
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Went too long and lost too much moisture so it hardened up? Honestly not sure, but this stuff is trickier than I thought when I tried it. Our first batch went way wrong and tasted burnt, the second batch didn't set up right, the third we got right.
I am sure someone with more candy knowledge will come along to answer this for you!
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:50 PM   #4
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I did the same thing this year with my peanut brittle. Here is what happened--you had some sugar crystals, either on the spoon you were stirring with, or on the pot itself. When the syrup reaches a certain point, the sugar wants to recrystalize, and those little crystals that didn't get dissolved in the boiling syrup start a chain reaction of crystalization.

To avoid this, leave the lid on the pan for the first two minutes of boiling, and don't stir the syrup while it is cooking.

Use a candy thermometer, too, if you want consistent results.
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:09 PM   #5
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interestingly

the thermometer i had in the syrup never read above 275, time fore a new thermometer!
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:42 AM   #6
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Molten sugar will recrystallize in a hearbeat, if but ONE TINY crystal of sugar is introduced to the mixture.

I was always taught to have a cupful of HOT water with a pastry brush next to the pan, and brush all the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan into the mass before the water boils off (you know this happens with the bubbles change pitch and frequency).

Also, some things help to keep the sugar from crystallizing. Some lime juice, just a wee little bit, but not enough to change the flavor, will work. Also, a couple tablespoons of corn syrup do wonders, since it's an "invert" sugar and naturally stays liquid.

I almost always add just a bit of corn syrup to my syrup mass before I start boiling, to help ensure that my candy doesn't crystallize on me.

If it does crystallize, there is a quick fix, and you did that without even knowing what to do. Just add some water, let it dissolve, and do it again.

Personally, I always go by temperature, not color. You can get a cheap candy thermometer for a few bucks.
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