15 December 2020: Nut Brittle

I remember tins of peanut brittle although I don’t remember exactly where they came from so when King Arthur Baking sent out this Microwave Nut Brittle recipe in a weekly email blast, it seemed like an opportunity to try something from long-ago memory.

When I think of handmade gifts for giving at the holidays, I’ve shied away from making nut brittle, especially now, as I don’t do enough candy-making to warrant having a candy thermometer in my tool drawer. Also, the making part of this involves corn syrup, something I don’t often keep in the pantry.

With a thought that perhaps COVID lockdowns are making me a bit nostalgic, I decided to give this candy a try. It looks similar to the peanut brittle we used to get out of those tins and by preparing it with a microwave, it seemed pretty easy to pull off. The original post on King Arthur’s website contains nutritional information.

King Arthur Baking Microwave Nut Brittle


  • 1 cup (198g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (156g) light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups (213g) salted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Spray a wooden spoon (or other heat-proof stirring implement) with non-stick cooking spray. Lightly grease a 10″ x 15″ or larger baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
  2. Mix together the sugar and corn syrup in a large microwave-safe bowl and stir until well combined; the mixture will be stiff and hard to stir. Be sure to use a large enough bowl; the sugar/corn syrup should fill it no more than 1/4 to 1/3 full.
  3. Microwave the sugar mixture uncovered on high power for 5 minutes; it will bubble vigorously.
  4. Add the peanuts and butter, and stir well to combine. Speed is key! The cooler the mixture becomes the harder it will be to stir.
  5. Replace the bowl in the microwave and cook on high for 2 to 4 minutes, until the mixture turns a nice medium-brown caramel color. Start watching carefully around the 2-minute mark, and remove when the caramel color is achieved. (I found 2 minutes to be the right timing)
  6. Add the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will bubble furiously upon the addition of these ingredients — this is what gives the candy its hallmark airy texture. (This is also why you need to use a large bowl.) Stir quickly to combine. The finished mixture will look creamy and caramelized.
  7. Working quickly, pour the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet and spread it as evenly as possible. If you end up with an uneven spread, don’t worry — the candy should still set up nicely, even in the thicker areas.
  8. Once the brittle has set and cooled (30 to 60 minutes), break it into pieces.

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