Super sweet and delightfully crunchy, peanut brittle brings about a sense of satisfaction for its munchable goodness. While this tasty treat is often more readily available during the winter holiday season, there is little to keep diehard fans from celebrating it pretty much any time of year.
And that is just what National Peanut Brittle Day is all about!
History of National Peanut Brittle Day
Everyone loves a bit of Peanut Brittle, and the sweet treat, which dates back to the 19th century, has become so nationally adored that it has joined the legion of foods with their very own day.
Some people ascertain that the history of peanut brittle begins in the southern states of the USA, which makes sense because that is where peanuts were first known to be cultivated. Of course, similar confectionary treats have been made throughout the world using different nuts, but the peanut-specific version of brittle originated as an American invention.
It is well known that many soldiers survived the American Civil War predominantly on the protein found in peanuts, especially toward the end of the war when meat and produce were scarce. These little snacks were easy to carry, were simple to prepare by roasting or boiling, and were salted to help with preservation.
Following this era, peanuts became more popular with Americans and were cultivated on farms in the southern parts of the country, especially as they became more popular in the early 1900s.
One version of the history of peanut brittle credits a woman from the south for inventing this delightful treat somewhere around the year 1890. But, as many creations are, this invention was actually a bit of a mistake. The story goes that she was attempting to make taffy, but mistakenly added baking soda to the mix instead of cream of tartar.
Even when she realized her mistake, the woman didn’t want to be wasteful, so she continued to cook the concoction, throwing in some handfuls of peanuts just to see what would happen. The result was a completely different texture and flavor that turned into what is now known as peanut brittle.
Another story that is clearly more folklore than fact relegates the invention of peanut brittle to a character named Tony Beaver. Often referred to as a cousin of the largely famous Paul Bunyan, the story casts Beaver as the savior of a town when he prevented it from flooding by pouring peanuts and molasses into the river. And the result was peanut brittle!
The term for this treat “brittle” first seems to have appeared in 1892. Since then, the basic recipes have remained relatively unchanged except for the fact that many people would now use corn syrup instead of molasses.
No matter how it got started, peanut brittle is one of the original sweet-and-salty treats that is now enjoyed by many people all over the world.
How to Celebrate National Peanut Brittle Day
Celebrate this deliciously crunchy, peanut-based candy on National Peanut Brittle Day by picking up a few bars from a local store or even attempting to make some in the kitchen at home. Try out these ideas to get started:
Try Making Peanut Brittle at Home
For the most part, this delicious confection is pretty easy to make once you get the hang of it. It can be a little fussy and it is necessary to pay attention, but there really are very few ingredients and it’s not super complicated. Plus, the results are absolutely amazing!
All that is really required to make peanut brittle is corn syrup, baking soda, water, a bit of butter, and peanuts. It’s best to avoid making it on a rainy day because the humidity will impact the results.
Learn Fun Facts About Peanut Brittle
Have a good time sharing various bits of trivia about peanut brittle. Get started with these fun pieces of information:
- Thought to be one of the first types of candies that was ever made, “brittle” is a flat, sugary candy with a hardened texture.
- Brittle is made with sugar and water, heated until it comes to around 340 F, or what is called the “hard crack stage”. The peanuts are then mixed in at the end of the process before spreading it out to cool.
- The amount of humidity in the air significantly affects the results of peanut brittle. Too much moisture and it won’t keep its shape. This is probably the reason that peanut brittle is a treat that is made mostly in the winter months.
- The first recipe for peanut brittle was published in an American cookbook, around the turn of the 19th century.
Share Peanut Brittle with Friends and Family
Just like most days dedicated to food, it’s more fun to celebrate National Peanut Brittle Day when there’s an opportunity to share! Whether making it homemade or picking it up at a candy store, peanut brittle is an easy snack to pass around at the office or at a family gathering.
Make up some small packets of peanut brittle and bring delight to neighbors by making a little delivery to them. Or pass out peanut brittle to the various people in the local area, such as teachers, mail carriers, coworkers or bank tellers, aiming to make the world a slightly brighter place!
Get Creative with Peanut Brittle
Play around with recipes and add a distinctly personal touch to create a unique version of the classic brittle we all know and love. Try out some of these ideas for unique versions of peanut brittle, or get crazy in the kitchen and come up with your own:
- Chocolate Drizzle Peanut Brittle. Add some pizzazz to a basic recipe by drizzling melted chocolate over the top once it is cool. Choose dark, milk or even white chocolate for a unique touch. Add almond slices to create even more flavor and texture in the world of nuts.
- Spicy Peanut Brittle. Channel those autumn vibes by adding some spicy goodness to the mix. Choose cinnamon, nutmeg and clove to complement well with peanuts. Add a little brown sugar to the recipe for a comfy-cosy flavor.
- Peanut Java Brittle. Meld flavors and get a caffeine fix by mixing some coffee beans into the brittle along with the nuts.
- Hot Chili Peanut Brittle. Give things a little kick by adding hot chili pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the mixture at the end of the cooking process. It adds a fun and interesting flavor that brings depth to the standard recipe.
A word of warning, though – it isn’t always easy to create this level of perfection in your own home, as it requires all kinds of complicated temperature controls, so to save any disappointment, it might be a good idea to get a pre-made bar for back up. However you decide to spend this day, make sure you go nuts!