On Wednesday night before Christmas a big bobsled load of us – nineteen in all and with a four-horse team – went up to the old schoolhouse to the school program and tree. It was lots of fun and I believe the last I went to was when . . . I was in the program myself back in 1923! I got a great kick out of watching these various kids perform and make mistakes and more fun still to see them eating candy and popcorn balls up front while the tree was being ‘had.’ Shirley Dobson, January 2, 1933
Mike loves peanut brittle and will sometimes come home from the Dollar Tree with a box of the commercial stuff. "They sure don't put many peanuts in this brittle," he noted. I made a mental note to make some for him.
Our Grandma Bennie, Mike's mother, sent us a lovely box of Christmas gifts and goodies every year, and she would include a large coffee can or plastic sack of her homemade peanut brittle. Somehow the peanut brittle always disappeared, and I knew Mike was hiding it someplace for his own surreptitious consumption.
"Mo-om!" came the voice of a little whiner one year, "the peanut brittle Grandma Bennie sent to our family is in the bottom drawer of Dad's desk." I didn't say anything to Mike. After all, I'm sure Bennie sent peanut brittle because she knew her son's fondness for it. We had plenty of other treats for the children to devour. Here's Bennie's recipe for PEANUT BRITTLE:
2 c white sugar
1/2 c water
1 c white Karo
3 c raw peanuts
3 tsp oleo or butter
2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Butter two cookie sheets. In a "heavy boiler," cook sugar, water and Karo slowly to 240 on candy thermometer -- about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peanuts and stir continuously until brownish gold and thread spins [295 on candy thermometer -- about 15 minutes]. Watch carefully so mixture doesn't burn. Take from fire and stir in butter until melted. Add salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir quickly! Pour mixture evenly onto prepared pans. When completely cooled, break apart. Store in covered container.
I admit to editing Bennie's recipe so that the directions are clearer. Recipes abound everywhere but the basic proportions seem to be the same. Some use raw peanuts and add salt to the mixture. Some use salted peanuts and omit the salt.
Some people use a microwave recipe, but I have misplaced mine. I remember an evening conversation with Aunt Chris years ago, in which she mentioned she was about to make peanut brittle. "Isn't that complicated," I asked. She read me her microwave recipe and finished by asking, "What could be simpler?"
"Peanut brittle," noted the cashier as three packages of 10 for a dollar raw peanuts slid over the scanner in my order.
By the way, Bennie, now 96, lives in an assisted care center in Memphis under the watchful eye of Mike's sister, Carol.
[The card above is just a simple picture on card stock (flat, does not open) and was sent to my dad by his sister, Shirley, in 1946. I am fascinated by the figure carrying the tree. I suppose it's a man, but I see a woman. What do you think? Remember -- this card might have been designed during World War II. It's an interesting presentation at any rate.] KW