Driving the church van, I got to know some wonderful people who rode to worship on Sunday mornings. Hazel Olson was one, who gave me the cookie cutter that I used this week to make my grandmother’s date cookies. These are a date-filled soft Christmas cookie that is easy to make and store well over the Christmas holidays.
Long after Hazel no longer rode the van, I met Muriel Kinne. By then I was making jams and jellies and sharing them with riders who were interested. The week before Christmas Muriel said that I should stop to pick up the empty jars.
When Jerri and I went to visit, Muriel showed us photos and shared some memories about her life and work. We learned that she really liked our pastor and that she kept up on current news. Before we left with the jars, she gave us a container filled with peanut brittle that she had been making for Christmas for many years.
I told her that I loved peanut brittle but was afraid to try to make it. Her response: “It’s easy. Even an old woman can make it!”
Muriel died at the age of ninety-seven. She was a wonderful lady whom we remember every Christmas when I make peanut brittle that tastes just like the delicious candy that she used to make.
Here is the recipe.
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
2 cups raw peanuts
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
Heat and stir the sugar, syrup and water in a heavy three-quart saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add the salt and mount a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. While the candy is cooking, butter a 12 by 19” jelly roll pan and make sure that the butter, vanilla and soda are ready to add when the candy reaches the hard crack stage.
Cook over medium heat to about 250º. Add the peanuts and cook to the hard crack stage (300º), stirring often.
Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the butter, vanilla and soda. Beat to a froth for a few seconds. Pour the candy at once into the well-buttered pan, spreading with a spatula. You can also shake the pan gently from side to side to help spread the candy, but be careful as the candy is very hot. Break it into pieces after it is cold.
This makes about one and one-half pounds of peanut brittle.
To make about two pounds of candy, increase the ingredients as follows
3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 cup water
3 cups raw peanuts
1 tsp. salt
3 T butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 T baking soda
NOTE: This keeps forever as long as you hide it from people addicted to peanut brittle.