Brittles are hard candies made of nuts such as peanuts and caramelized sugar. This candy has local variations around the world, such as panutsa mani in the Philippines, alegría in Mexico, and chikki in some parts of India. Are you interested in making one? Your peanut brittle making equipment should involve peanut preparation and processing, syrup preparation, ingredient mixing, slab formation and cutting, and packaging.
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Using peanut brittle making equipment to create your golden sweet
The peanut brittle processing line starts with the preparation of the peanut, which should be peeled and roasted. Peanuts can be baked at 350 °F for 10 – 15 minutes if shelled or 20 – 15 minutes if unshelled, or until the peanuts turn light golden brown. These are then peeled using a dry peanut peeling machine.
Using roller friction, the peels are removed in utmost 97% of the peanuts while maintaining peanut structure. Once peeled and roasted, you can mix your peanuts with cooked sugar syrup using a mixer. Now your peanut brittle is ready to be shaped and cut.
While warm, your brittle is spread out on a conveyor. The warm brittle and/or warm surfaces help keep your product pliable, easing the spreading process. Rollers in the spreading machine flatten your brittle as thin as possible. Afterward, the brittle is cooled, pressed again to ensure thinness, and cut into your desired shapes. The thickness and shape of your slices are controlled by the machine settings you can freely set.
Ensuring hard crack perfection for your sugar syrup
How you make your sugar syrup affects the final texture of your peanut brittle. Sugar syrup must reach the hard crack stage. You can use a calibrated candy thermometer during measurement for proper verification.
The hard crack stage establishes the stability of your peanut brittle. At the hard crack stage, the extremely high temperature fully completes sugar crystallization, imparting the hardest texture on your peanut brittle. Sugar concentration is at 99% or higher while moisture content is at 1% or less. The hard crack stage is reached when your sugar syrup is cooked at 300 to 310 °F. Failure to achieve this stage results in incomplete crystallization, leading to a rubbery product.
Raw or roasted? Which peanut should I use?
Are you thinking of choosing between raw or cooked peanuts for your peanut brittle? Don’t fret, as this is just rhetoric. You can use both; you just need to adjust where you will add each in the process.
Raw peanuts give better flavor to your syrup. These must be added at the start of the process to better incorporate a nuttier flavor profile into your syrup. On the other hand, roasted peanuts must be added near the end of the cooking process to prevent them from being burned or overcooked. These must be warm when added, freshly roasted with product temperatures of 250 °F, thereby preventing the undesirable crystallization of your syrup.
Chikki: One of the million varieties of peanut brittle
Additional ingredients can be added to your peanut brittle to make it unique. In India, their regional variant, chikki, introduces jaggery into the recipe, an unrefined Indian cane sugar. The jaggery is added to the sugar solution during the cooking process. Additional steps include chopping or sifting the jaggery before mixing with the sugar solution. Aside from the sugar, you will also need to dissolve the jaggery to ensure a smoother consistency.
Furthermore, in this case, the process of syrup cooking only targets the hard ball stage (250 – 265 °F, sugar concentration of 92%). To make the product healthier, you can consider adding other ingredients, such as chickpea, dried fruits, and sesame seeds.