Growing up in the Republic of Congo, many street vendors would sell these super crunchy sugar coated peanuts. They used to be one of my favorite treats as I child.
When my family moved to Canada, I was always looking for these in grocery stores, but the only sugar coated peanuts I would find were those bright red candied peanuts with the super glossy coating.
It is almost two decades later, as I became more comfortable in the kitchen, that I figured I could make my childhood peanuts myself.
The recipe is quite straightforward, but it also requires your attention and sense of observation! The key to achieving the ultimate sugar coated peanuts is in how long you cook the sugar mixture. You don’t want to stop too early or your sugar coating will not set and you don’t want to cook it too long or you will end up with a shiny smooth coating (which is not bad, but trust me you will love the crunchy coating better!).
This recipe calls for raw unsalted peanuts because I personally prefer seasoning and roasting my peanuts myself, but if you cannot find raw peanuts or if you would rather skip the step of roasting the peanuts, you can use store bought roasted peanuts, as long as they are not flavored.
What I also love about this recipe is how versatile and customizable it is. You can truly make it your own with different flavor boosters. In this recipe, I stuck with the very conventional vanilla extract and salt, but you can easily add a punch to these sugar coated peanuts by adding cayenne pepper for a bit of heat, chili powder for some smokiness or even pumpkin pie spice if you want these peanuts to taste a little bit like the fall. The possibilities are truly endless!
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- makes 2 cups
raw, unsalted peanuts
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Arrange the peanuts in an even layer on your baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the peanuts have a light golden color. Make sure to toss your peanuts around every 5 minutes or so for even roasting.
- Remove the peanuts from the oven and add to a saucepan along with water and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, decrease the heat to medium and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring regularly using a wooden spoon. The mixture will go from liquid to sticky and to white and granulated.
- Once it is granulated, add salt and vanilla extract.
- Continue cooking, stirring constantly until the sugar coats the peanuts and turns a light caramel color, try not to let the sugar caramelize too much, you are looking to preserve its granulated texture.
- Remove from the heat and immediately transfer back onto the prepared baking sheet. Let cool for 15-20 minutes and transfer to a jar.
- Keep it in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks.