National Peanut Brittle Day is observed on January 26. A hard, flat candy confection, peanut brittle is enjoyed throughout the United States.
Peanut Brittle includes caramelized sugar or corn syrup. Nuts are added to the molten sugar and then pour onto a flat surface such as granite or marble and smoothed into a thin sheet. The candy cools into a hard, brittle treat that is broken into smaller pieces. Some of the best brittle’s are hand stretched into a thin, easily cracked candy that melts in the mouth.
The history of peanut brittle is uncertain, though one legend says it was all a mistake.
- Some believe that peanut brittle originated in the American South. The fact that Civil War soldiers survived on peanuts because of its protein content, coupled with the Southern peanut farming boom in the 1900’s.
- Another version credits a Southern woman for inventing the candy purely by accident in 1890. While attempting to make taffy, she inadvertently added baking soda to the recipe instead of cream of tartar.
- The history of peanut brittle is tied to Tony Beaver, a lumberjack folk hero. In the story, Tony Beaver creates peanut brittle when he stops a flood using peanuts and molasses.
- The term brittle first appears in print in 1892.
- In parts of the Middle East, brittle is made with pistachios, while many Asian countries use sesame seeds and peanuts.
- According to the history of peanut brittle candy, brittle was probably the first candy ever made.