When I think of peanut brittle for some strange reason (could just be my weird memory recalling random junk) I think of the character Gramma Nutt from Candy Land. Gramma Nutt was the lovable old lady who lived in a peanut brittle house towards the end of the game. I already wanted to be Queen Frostine, I even dressed up as her once! Besides being part of the magical Candy Land, peanut brittle is a huge part of American history.
Peanut brittle started getting made around the late 1800s but wasn’t popular until about 5 years later. What really put this hard-cracked candy on the map was Lady Bird Johnson.
In Austin, Texas during the 1940s to 1960s the Johnson family had a fantastic caterer; Mary Faulk Koock. Koock orchestrated all the parties the Johnson’s threw for famous dignitaries. Koock was very close with Lady Bird and when Koock wrote her first book with James Beard, she included (with permission of course) Lady Bird’s peanut brittle.
When her book was published the recipe went viral and women across the country were sharing Lady Bird’s recipe. The book also gave a glimpse into the lives of the Johnson’s and what it was like to be in Austin during the 1960s.
Is peanut brittle still a thing? It’s rare that I see peanut brittle anymore which I think is weird because it’s so delicious! Perhaps the hard consistency deters people, but there are different ways to make it so its softer! I guess I could see where they’re coming from, maybe they’re like me and they know that Gramma Nutt built her house with it!
Of course, you don’t have to just use peanuts, really brittle can be most anything you want it to be, essentially, it’s just crack candy with peanuts. You could make pistachio brittle if you wanted… come to think of it that sounds really good!
How do you feel about peanut brittle? Too hard but so delicious? What nut would you use?
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- Place sugar, water and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once the mixture comes to a boil reduce the heat so that the mixture is at a low simmer. Stir and cook until the mixture is 238 degrees farenheit on a candy thermometer.
- Add the peanuts and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture gets to 302 degrees farenheit. This will take 3-4 mins. Do not let the peanuts burn.
- Once the mixture is 302 degrees farenheit, add the butter, salt and baking soda.
- Pour the hot mixture onto a silpat and quickly spread the mixture out as evenly as possible.
- Let it cool for one hour, then you can break it into pieces and serve how you'd like! I used pieces on some cupcakes but you can also eat it by itself! Yummy!