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The Davenport Soft Peanut Brittle Recipe

December 21, 2020

The Rich History Of Spokane’s Davenport Hotel

The Davenport, located in Spokane, Washington, is a stunning historic hotel that opened in 1914. In its turn of the century glory, it was known as the most modern hostelry in the United States, boasting air conditioning, a pipe organ, a central vacuum system, housekeeping carts and accordion ballroom doors.

This landmark hotel shut down in 1985, but local entrepreneurs, Walt and Karen Worthy bought the hotel in 2000 and gave it a top-to-bottom renovation, restoring it to its former glory.

You can now walk the balcony overlooking the elegant main floor and imagine what it would have been like to waltz into one of the grand ballrooms next to the dapper top hats and sophisticated floor length gowns of the 1920s.

The Famous Soft Peanut Brittle

Along with the echoes of nostalgia, The Davenport also carries some signature items that make it famous. One of these is their homemade soft peanut brittle.

I still remember the first time I tried it. Wrapped in a pretty box with an elegant bow, I was sure I was not going to be impressed with anything but the wrapping, as I don’t really like traditional peanut brittle. I was so wrong! It was one of the best candies I had ever tasted. It is 100,000 times better than traditional peanut brittle. You can order it here from the hotel.

Thus began my hunt for the recipe.

I did a little research, found a basic recipe, then adapted it. Trial and error is the only way I ever make my way around the kitchen. I share with you what I’ve learned – what to do and what not to do. I now make this every Christmas and all of my mistakes will hopefully save you time and money!

Once you start making soft peanut brittle, be ready, people will ask you for it every year.

A few things before you start:

This recipe is all science.

While I can’t explain why it works the way it does, someone much smarter than me could. What I can tell you is that if you don’t follow the directions to the letter, it will not turn out. It will be too chewy or too hard. So there’s that.

Don’t plan to do anything else while you are making this recipe.

All of your attention is needed when making this recipe or it may not turn out. There have been times where I sat and watched the thermometer for an hour, then walked away to check social media or work on something else, and when I came back the temp. had skyrocketed and the batch was ruined. Candy making is an “all in” baking activity.

The Dav (what locals call it) turns out the hot candy mixture onto marble slabs to let cool.

This is genius and it scientifically works. However, most of us don’t have cold marble lying around the house, so we have to use what we have. Cookie sheets or granite cutting boards/slabs work well. I put mine in the freezer and then pull them out when I’m ready to spread the mixture.

A Few Extra Notes

Don’t leave the brittle in the freezer too long or it will harden. Just cool it until it in the freezer until it comes back to normal room temperature. A deep freeze works best if you have it and don’t open the freezer until you are ready to check it.

I have had better luck with Silicone sheets than parchment in getting the texture to turn out the way I like. Parchment is just fine and will totally work, but if you have silicone, give it a try.

Soft Peanut Brittle Video Tutorial

Ready to try it? Just follow the directions closely! Enjoy.

Print

The Davenport Soft Peanut Brittle Recipe

This famous Spokane candy is perfect for Christmas gifts, but it’s also a crowd pleaser anytime of year.  

  • Author: Krista Gilbert

Ingredients

Scale

2 c creamy peanut butter

1 1/4 c sugar

1 3/4 c light corn syrup

1/4 c water

2 Tbsp butter

2 c peanuts…raw or roasted

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

In a double boiler over hot water, place peanut butter to heat while preparing syrup.

 

In a large saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup of the water. Cook over high heat to 275 degrees on a candy thermometer. 

 

Reduce the heat to medium and add butter, stirring until melted.

 

Add peanuts and cook stirring for about 5 minutes or until candy starts turning brown and reaches 285 degrees on the thermometer. Do not overheat. It will make the candy hard.

 

Remove from heat, stir in baking soda that has been dissolved in a teaspoon of water.

 

Add vanilla and stir.

 

Working quickly, fold in the warmed peanut butter, while stirring gently.

 

Working quickly, pour candy mixture onto a well greased marble slab or a cookie sheet.

 

Spread as thinly as possible and cool quickly.

 

When cold …break into serving size pieces.

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  1. Liz says:

    Sounds like a lot of work but I’m going to try it. Should I freeze my granite before putting brittle on it? What candy thermometer should I get? How long did you leave the brittle in freezer before you put it into pieces? Thanks! Merry Christmas!

    • Krista says:

      Do it – it’s worth it :). Don’t leave the brittle in the freezer too long or it gets too hard. Just leave it long enough to become solid and pull it right out. I have the nice Williams-Sonoma candy thermometer and I’ve had it for years – worth the money. Oh and it can’t hurt to freeze the granite!

  2. Jen says:

    I made this today and it turned out delicious! I got the order wrong towards the end. (I put the peanut butter in before the baking soda and vanilla.) It still turned out great! I did watch the temperature very closely. Once it hit 275, I lowered the heat. Once it hit 300, I took it off the heat. My baking sheet seemed a little small, so the overall brittle seemed kind of thick. HOWEVER…it is soft, crumbly and delicious. Now I’m going to give some to my friend down the street who chipped her tooth on peanut brittle they bought years ago! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Krista says:

      Hi Jen! What a great idea to make this during this time for others. I love it! Glad it turned out for you. Blessings!

  3. Jeannie Hignell says:

    A friend from Spokane came and stayed at our house several years ago and brought Bruttles as a thank you gift. I have been addicted since then. My daughter made it a couple of years ago, but I just order it. I think I’m going to have to make it at Christmas this year.

    • Krista says:

      I love it Jeannie! Yes, it’s a special treat for sure. It’s actually very do-able to make – let me know if you give it a try 🙂 I’d love to hear. Blessings to you and your family!

  4. I am so excited to try this tomorrow. Thanks.

  5. Nid Moody says:

    Made this today. VERY yummy!! I love this softer version! It was a little tricky getting the timing right, to create a thin spread! I used Adam’s natural peanut butter and salted dry roasted peanuts. Would love to hear which ingredients people love the most!
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Lori Lee Bell says:

    Hi Krista, Thank you fit this recipe. I have fond memories of a small piece on my pillow at turndown at the Dav! Just a couple questions in advance. Exactly which peanuts do you like best? Are they Spanish peanuts with skins? Are they salted. Thanks in advance. We are trying out new traditions this year as everything is different.
    Warm regards, Lori Bell

    • Krista says:

      Hi Lori!
      Yes Spanish peanuts are best for sure. Unsalted is fine, but if you can only find salted, I love a little extra salt in the recipe. Have fun and let me know how it goes!

  7. Lauren Hidalgo says:

    Hi Krista-
    The recipe says it’s ok to use either roasted or unroasted peanuts. I really love the blistered peanuts from Costco, but worry the peanuts might taste burnt or bitter if they are pre-roasted. Just double-checking before I make them.
    Thanks,

  8. Vicki says:

    I was late to the discovery of the Davenports wonderful soft peanut brittle….now it is a must have! I made your recipe with salted peanuts and it was easy and turned out wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I will be making this every year but I doubt it will make it far enough to give away! I hope I can tho!

  9. jeff says:

    I have never made any candy type item before and the process seemed a little nerve wracking at first. Mostly trying to get the mixture to temp. I was afraid I had ruined it, but it came out amazing, just like the real thing. I customized the next try with organic corn syrup, light brown sugar, 3 cups of peanuts ( those big ones in a can from Costco ) and 3 tbl of butter. It was a bit richer tasting and I definitely liked the extra peanuts.

  10. Jean Thomson says:

    I made this today and it turned out really good. I don’t have marble, so I froze a buttered cookie sheet before I started this. It’s easy to get off the sheet, but I don’t care for the bottom of the peanut brittle, a little too buttery feeling. Should I use a non stick pan, or maybe spray the pan with PAM instead of butter?
    This was great, thanks for posting for all to see.

  11. Jean Thomson says:

    Does this need to be refrigerated? How long will it last?
    Mine came out great

  12. Jean Thomson says:

    Krista, I’m finding my candy is hard to eat, too sticky. I don’t remember the Davenports being so stuck to my teeth! Any ideas what I might have done wrong. I thought I followed the recipe exactly. Tastes great, but just hard to get out of my teeth. Thanks for any advise.

  13. LaRayne says:

    I just have to say, this soft peanut brittle may be even better than the Davenport’s Bruttles! I live in Spokane, and have bought Bruttles many times. I put a silicone mat on my largest baking sheet and put it in the freezer before I started, I used roasted, unsalted Spanish peanuts. I rubbed them between paper towels to remove most of the skins. Next time, I will stir the water/baking soda mixture again just before it goes in, because the soda had settled to the bottom of the dish. Make sure you use a sturdy spoon, because the mixture does become hard to stir.. It helped to have my husband handy to pour in the final ingredients while I kept stirring. You think it will take forever to get up to 285, then the temp moves up quickly at the end, so don’t take your eyes off the thermometer! I put the finished brittle in the freezer to cool. It turned out perfect! It’s not at all hard, and is flaky and the flavor is just like Bruttles! Thank you, Krista!

    • Krista says:

      Wow that is HIGH PRAISE indeed! 🙂 I’m so happy it turned out so well for you – hooray! And yes, sounds like you watched the temp carefully and that is KEY! Nice work.

  14. Tamara Beckwith says:

    Hi Krista. I am at high elevation. 5,000 feet above sea level.
    Do I decrease the temp on the candy thermometer to 275° ?

  15. Laura B says:

    I just made this wonderful Soft Peanut Brittle for our family’s Christmas Eve celebrations. It turned out perfectly AMAZING! I followed your instructions precisely for a great result. My husband and I have many fond memories of several stays at the Davenport Hotel. Thank you for sharing this treasured recipe! 🤗

  16. Lori L Bell says:

    Delicious!! Couldn’t find Spanish peanuts, but it didn’t matter. Great instructions. Thank you! 5 stars

    • Krista says:

      Yes I’ve always used Spanish but others tell me they have great results with other kinds as well. So glad it turned out well 🙂

  17. Amber R Remillard says:

    Perfect recipe! I really wanted to make it today but really didn’t want to go to the store. So I did it with chunky peanut butter and sliced almonds (toasted) instead of whole peanuts. It worked really well especially if you don’t love whole peanuts in brittle. I prefer the smaller nut pieces so this worked great!! The attention to process detail in the recipe is on point. I prepared and used two baking sheets. That allowed me to get the brittle nice and thin very rapidly. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Krista says:

      I love the creativity Amber! Way to go. and I’m so glad the instructions helped – it’s so important to get the science right in this one. Nice work and thanks for weighing in!

  18. Josette says:

    I love Bruttles and can’t wait to try the recipe. I’ve had both the Bruttle squares half-dipped in chocolate and the plain pieces of brittle. Do you think they’re the same–just different shapes? And have you tried melting some dark chocolate on top of the brittle? Also, I’ve seem cashew Bruttles dipped in white chocolate. Maybe that’s your next recipe.

    • Krista says:

      Hi Josette – yes they are the same just different shapes. I like the chocolate as well, and I’ve been thinking of getting some silicone molds for this purpoose. Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you try it!

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