Servings: Makes about 3 pounds or 16 servings
Active Time: 45 min
Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
1. Generously coat the baking sheets with cooking spray and set them aside on a heatproof surface.
2. Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrups in a medium to large (4- to 6-quart) saucepan, and mix well with the heatproof spatula.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and insert the candy thermometer. Cook over high heat, uncovered and without stirring, until it reaches 260°F/125°C (hard ball stage), 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Gently add the peanuts and butter, being careful not to splash (serious ouch potential). Turn the heat down to medium and stir continuously until the mixture registers 300°–305°F/150°–152°C (hard crack stage), 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the baking soda, vanilla, and salt. The mixture will bubble and increase in volume a little bit; don’t panic! Stir well to combine, taking care again not to splash the mixture, and then carefully pour it out, dividing it evenly between the prepared baking sheets. (This is where it’s a good idea to have a helper scrape the molten candy out of the pot while you hold it steady.)
6. Using the spatula, spread the mixture as thin as possible. Allow it to cool to room temperature and set up, about 25 minutes.
7. Break the brittle into bite-size pieces and store them immediately. Brittle will become very sticky if left in any kind of humid weather, so wrap this up ASAP! Store the brittle, layered with parchment or wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.