1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
3 cups raw shelled Virginia style peanuts -skins on
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp butter extract, or vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
In a heavy saucepan (4 quarts or larger), heat sugar, corn syrup, cayenne, salt and water to a rolling boil. Add peanuts. Reduce heat to medium and stir constantly. This will take about 35 to 40 minutes and should not be hurried by heating at a higher temperature. It takes the full time to cook the peanuts and even marginally uncooked peanuts are not as tasty as fully cooked ones.
Using the candy thermometer, cook to a hard crack stage(293 degrees.) Add butter, stir until completely melted and mixed. Add baking soda and stir rapidly until frothy looking the candy will “grow” rapidly when you add the baking soda. Stir in the butter extract.
Be near your pouring surface so you don’t end up with a partial batch on the kitchen floor. Pour onto a buttered surface and spread until about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Break into pieces when cool. The best surface on which to pour this is a cooled slab of marble. Next best is some other cooled surface such as a cookie sheet. The surface should be liberally buttered but not so much as to make the bottom of the candy excessively oily.
You need to check the candy at about 3-5 minute intervals immediately after pouring it out and lift it gently with a spatula from the cooling surface so that it does not stick. This needs to be done about three times and then you can let it cool thoroughly before breaking it into serving size pieces. Cooling time is about 60 minutes.
Store in dry and airtight containers or bags or in a gift giving tin with the recipe. Your friends will love it.
recipe adapted from Real Cajun Recipes