I’m on a candy kick. Obviously. Christmas is a good time for candy, or at least a good excuse for it. My mother always made candy at Christmastime, along with other treats. She also always bought a big box of See’s Candy, by the way, and it was one of the big games at Christmastime to pick out a piece of candy in the evening. Hoping it was something you would like….. My favorites would be the ones with caramel inside. I would be disappointed if it was one that had some kind of gooey pink stuff in there. I didn’t like those and it was a big waste of picking a piece! My mother also always ordered a fruit cake. I ate plenty of fruit cake growing up, but have never wanted a piece of fruit cake again. After I got married, my mother used to send me a fruit cake every year, until I finally admitted that I didn’t really like fruit cake.
It’s always hard to admit stuff like that. You got any stories like that? The thing someone always gives you and you can’t figure out how to tell them you don’t like it? Because you love them and don’t want to hurt their feelings? Share!
Meanwhile, here is my latest candy escapade here at Sassafras Farm. Peanut brittle was my dad’s favorite candy, and I like it, too. (For real.)
How to make Peanut Brittle:
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups peanuts*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
*You can use other nuts, coarsely chopped. I prefer the old-fashioned peanuts, and I like them salted and roasted for the additional flavor, but you can use raw peanuts or unsalted peanuts–up to you!
Line a large baking sheet (11 x 14 size) and butter it. (I use aluminum foil.) Butter the sides of a medium-size sauce pan. In the pan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until it boils.
Once the candy is ready to pour, you’ll have to act fast. I keep everything pre-measured and ready, including especially the baking soda. Bring the heat down slightly, clip on a candy thermometer, and cook/stir until the mixture reaches 275-degrees. The mixture will start darkening to a golden color.
Add the nuts and keep cooking until it comes up to 295-degrees.
Quickly sprinkle the baking soda over the mixture, stir in, and pour. Work fast! It will get hard very fast. Spread it out and let cool.
Break into pieces and enjoy!
P.S. Peanut brittle keeps REALLY well, so also makes a great candy gift. (Delicious AND frugal.)
See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.
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Jane L says:
I would bet that you would love fruit cake if you made the traditional British type. Fruit cake is soooo good, and it stays good for months. The US, as a general rule, ruins fruit cake by using too much glacé fruit and large nuts… and not enough rum!
On December 19, 2013 at 8:02 am
Suzanne, I have a microwave recipe for peanut brittle. It tastes great and I super fast and easy if you would like it. I like fast and easy.
On December 19, 2013 at 8:36 am
My dad always loved Claxon’s Fruitcake, and for many years I would buy him one for Christmas. I never liked fruitcake growing up.
Then my staunch Baptist mother decided she was going to start baking fruitcakes. And she was going to start SOAKING THEM. IN LIQUOR. DID I put enough emphasis on STAUNCH BAPTIST? :bugeyed: Hope so. Anyway, rather than be seen near a liquor store, she learned to MAKE HER OWN BRANDY. :no: SERIOUSLY. :yes: I can’t even tell you how this went against the grain of my upbringing. I was maybe 20 or so when she started doing this. I mean to tell ya that brandy was DELICIOUS. :snoopy:
And so were the fruitcakes! For several years she made loads of cakes, and we gave them to everyone we knew. And I loved fruitcake for about 6 years. I also loved blackberry brandy! And sneaking a drink! 😉
Mom’s gone back on the straight and narrow path now. :hissyfit: I’m almost 50, and sometimes I wish I had the time and patience to make my own dang brandy, and my own fruitcakes. Or at least wish I knew someone else who made them!
On December 19, 2013 at 10:07 am
I am also on a candy kick. My grandmother, like your mother, was a Christmas candy maker and always had a treasure trove in her kitchen during the holiday season. Over the last several years, I have begun making more goodies just to keep her memory and traditions alive. I made caramel for the first time ever last night. It turned out pretty good.. The worst part was wrapping all of the pieces up in waxed paper..LOL! I also made chocolate dipped pretzels, oreo balls and scottish shortbread cookies the day before that. Our friends will get almost all of it because we try not to eat too many sweets….
On December 19, 2013 at 10:13 am
OOOh, peanut brittle, my absolute favorite! I make it now in the microwave, using cashews, sooo good. Yours looks more peanutty, guess I’ll have to start putting in even more nuts.
A Christmas chocolate memory…every year my grandfather would get a box of soft-center chocolates (he had dentures) and would reluctantly share with us, one each, after supper and then put the box away in the china cabinet. Well you can imagine the temptation, I walked by the china cabinet a thousand times every day and one day I just couldn’t resist any longer and sneaked one. Of course I got caught! He must have counted them! Probably the one I took was jelly or something else I didn’t even like.
Thanks for the memory jog.
On December 19, 2013 at 10:22 am
Starting in the 70s, my country cousin collected pig stuff – little figurines, fridge magnets, etc – and for decades I’d be on the lookout for pig stuff all year long, then send her a box of it at Christmas. Finally one year she admitted that she hadn’t collected pig stuff for at least ten years and would I please stop sending it! In my defense, she lives across the country from me so I had no way of knowing she’d got rid of it all long ago. To this day, when I see a cute pig on something, I think of Dea.
On December 19, 2013 at 11:30 am
holstein woman says:
Fruit cake, I love fruit cake. I’m the only one in the family who does. The best recipe I ever ate was filled with loads of nuts and not much candied fruit. A friend gave me the recipe over 25 years ago and I lost track of it in a divorce, nuts.
If you keep posting all these goodies I will probably have to make some thing yet.
On December 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Ha, a very common comment by friends and family is, “I like fruit cake without the fruit, and a bit of liquor doesn’t hurt.” 😆 My grandmother kept perfecting hers until there was no fruit, just nuts and raisens. Delicious. Merry Christmas!!
On December 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm
For my birthdays when I was a little girl, my grandmother would make an angel food cake with overly sweet, pink frosting and store-bought hard sugar decorations. I liked it when I was six, but not so much when I was older. I came to dread my birthdays, because I knew I would be faced with having to eat the pink cake, but I just couldn’t bear to hurt her feelings and tell her I wanted something else.
On December 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm
I have not made peanut brittle for years but I love it. We have a friend that makes cashew brittle and dips it in dark chocolate, she usally gives us some every Christmas, I hope I am still on her nice list 😉
This recipe will go into my recipe box—thank you.
On December 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm
My memere used to always buy those orange peanut shaped candies and ribbon candy and kept them out at Christmas time. They were always so stale and rock hard and the ribbon candy was always all stuck together. I remember eating it bc it was it there and I was a kid but as I got older my cousins and I would dare each other to eat the peanuts bc they were so gross! And then we stopped doing that & those candies always sat there in the pretty candy dishes untouched. I don’t remember her ever eating either candy but she always had it out without fail every Christmas up until she passed away’ I swear the last couple years it was the same peanuts and ribbon candy from years prior. She saved everything. I never had the heart to tell her that the treats she left out for us where so gross!!!!!
On December 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm
I love owls. I have for many years and used to make owl pin cushions, draw them and crochet backpacks and pillows that looked like owls for little people in my life. Now apparently owls are cool and everywhere you look, there they are!! Looking back at you with big round eyes. So now everyone I know, for all holidays and my birthday buy me owl figurines, owl salt and pepper shakers, owl kitchen timers, an owl scarf, a 3ft tall wooden owl, AN OWL PURSE, I could go on and on. I have had to tell them all, I really do like owls, but I am NOT SOME SORT OF FREAK!!!
On January 3, 2014 at 10:14 am