I remember as a little girl I always sold peanut brittle for school fundraising but often most of it would stay at home, as mum had a real liking for it as well. The school brittle was simply peanut and was a bit of a jawbreaker.
Brittle is very quick and simple to prepare. You will want to make this a couple of days before you are going to give it away or eat it. Brittle does not like humidity so keep it in a dry environment in an airtight container or jar, or it will tend to get sticky. This recipe makes about 300g of brittle, about 5-6 gifts worth.
In a bowl combine the nuts with the lemon zest and the butter.
Place the sugar and 1/3 cup of water into a heavy based pot and bring to a boil over a moderate temperature, brushing down the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush or similar. This will help prevent the toffee forming crystals.
Continue to cook the toffee until it starts to change colour and turns a golden brown. It needs to be at hardball stage so that it forms a hard ball when you drop a small amount into cold water.
Prepare a tray by greasing a sheet of baking paper.
Add in the nuts and butter to the toffee and stir to combine and when coated with the syrup, immediately pour this onto the baking sheet. Using another greased sheet of baking paper place this onto top and with a rolling pin or empty bottle flatten out the mixture.
Allow to cool completely and then break up the mixture and wrap or devour.