Bacon Peanut Brittle

This stuff is seriously addictive, so if you have that kind of personality, you might not want to make this :-)

Bacon Peanut Brittle
Makes about 2 lbs or 5 cups.
Tip: Before you start, make sure to read the instructions carefully and have all ingredients prepped and equipment at hand. Once you start the candy making process, there's no time for any pauses or breaks. Ready? Let's go!

Preheat oven to 310°F. Line two large (16" x 13") cookie sheets or half-sheet jelly roll pans with parchment paper or silpat mats. Place lined pans in oven to warm.
In a 3-4qt, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan, combine:
2 cups sugar (200g)
3/4 cup corn syrup (250g)
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons butter, softened

Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula. When it first boils, it will be big, white and foamy, then as the water evaporates, the volume will slowly decrease and the syrup color will change from honey to light brown. When the mixture turns golden brown, 8-10 min, or when a candy thermometer reads 305°F, remove from heat. 
Note: Subtract 2°F for each 1,000 ft above sea level. For example, if you are at 4,000 ft, subtract 8° from 305° and remove mixture from heat at 297°F.

Immediately(!) add and stir briskly to combine:
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts  
1/2 tsp salt  (omit if using salted peanuts)
4 slices bacon, cooked until very crisp, drained and finely chopped. 

Remove pans from oven and place on countertop next to saucepan or have a helper do this while you are adding the peanuts.

Next, sprinkle evenly on top of peanut mixture and stir until just combined:
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda   

The mixture will foam up as the baking soda reacts with the acid from the caramelized sugar. This "aerates" the brittle so it's not as dense, which means you're less likely to visit the dentist with a chipped tooth. Just make sure you add the baking soda away from the stove in case it foams violently and overflows. It's no fun cleaning hardened brittle off your cooktop.

OK, we're not done yet; one more step.

Quickly pour the mixture onto the warm, lined pans, dividing evenly between the pans. Work quickly using a heatproof spatula to spread the brittle or using two forks to pull apart and spread the candy.
Note: If the brittle gets too hard to work with, you can pop the pans back into the 310°F oven to "melt" a bit. Then remove and spread or pull apart some more.

Let cool completely before breaking or chopping into pieces.  Store for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.  


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