Total Calories: 4,451
* Select a 1-quart bowl to use as a mold for the peanut brittle bowl. To determine size of circle of candy for peanut brittle bowl, measure width and two times the height of the mold (circle will be about 10 inches). Invert bowl to be used as mold and butter outside surface set aside. Butter three baking sheets. On one baking sheet using a finger, trace the size of circle needed for the peanut brittle bowl. The remaining two baking sheets will be used for the brittle set baking sheets aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until 234° F* on a candy thermometer or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water will form a soft ball. Stir in peanuts and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until 300° F* on candy thermometer or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard brittle threads. Remove from heat stir in butter or margarine, baking soda and vanilla, blending well. Immediately pour about a third of the mixture into prepared circle on the baking sheet and divide remaining mixture between the remaining sheets. Cool about 1 minute, then gently stretch candy with two forks into desired circle shape, keeping thickness even. Stretch candy on remaining sheets as well.
When the edges of the candy circle are still pliable and center of circle is slightly set, carefully and quickly lift circle with oiled metal spatulas over buttered mold, forming a draped or ruffled look shape edges as desired. (You may want someone to help you lift candy over mold.) Let cool, about 5 minutes remove from mold. Set right side up.
When candy is cooled on baking sheets, break into pieces to fill the bowl. Place in a plastic bag and store in a cool, dry place up to 2 weeks.
Note: If using raw peanuts, roast slightly in the oven and add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
* For every 500 feet above sea level, decrease by 1° F.
Packaging Suggestions: To prevent breakage, place the bowl on a sturdy decorative paper plate or foil-covered cardboard. Arrange the broken peanut brittle inside the bowl adding, if desired, small candy canes or small cookies such as Mocha-Brandy Nut Balls (see below) in colorful bon bon papers. Place the plate on a sheet of cellophane or plastic wrap, bring the corners up to the center, and tie with ribbon or cord. You can also make several bowls and fill them with mixed nuts (including lots of peanuts) and wrap as above. Or just make peanut brittle and arrange it in an airtight candy or apothecary jar. Attach ribbons and bows according to shape of container.