by Eric Wharton
My Recipe Book, constantly being added to
When I was young, I said to God, "God, tell me the mystery of the universe." But God answered, "That knowledge is for me alone." So I said, "God, tell me the mystery of the peanut." Then God said, "Well George, that's more nearly your size." And he told me.
— George Washington Carver
Peanut Brittle was first made by Tony Beaver. You don't know who that is? He's a mighty tall figure who could stride over mountains and twirl bobcats around his head. Hailing from West Virginny, he once challenged his cousin, Paul Bunyan, to a skittle skating contest. The way he made peanut brittle was through saving a town from being flooded by pouring peanuts and molasses into the river. In the end, the town was saved and the people had a delicious treat to commemorate the occasion.
Not buying that? Well maybe it was really a southern woman who, in 1890, made it by mistake. She was making taffy, but instead of adding cream of tartar, she added baking soda. Being frugal, she decided not to waste it and kept cooking it, which resulted in a crunchy candy rather than a chewy taffy.
What she was doing with the peanuts in the taffy is beyond me.
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
1 tsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
11/2 tbsp baking soda
Stir together sugar and syrup in an 8-cup glass container. Cook on high for 4 minutes, stirring well. Stir in peanuts and cook on high another 4 minutes. Add margarine and vanilla. Return to microwave and cook 11/2 minutes.
Very carefully, add baking soda, stirring gently. It will foam really high, so be careful, but do it quickly as possible. Pour onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Let cool about 1 hour, and then break into small pieces. Store in airtight container.
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