Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Peanut Brittle - Hua Ren Torng

(two sides of Foochow peanut brittle - nutty and fragrant)

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With news of Barack Obama winning I need to write something sweet today!! I have not really been thinking about nice and sweet things having been burdened with such serious issues in life!

Floods + Petrol prices +down trends of share market+ funerals+ sicknesses+ end of the year blues = serious + depressing thoughts. So writing about peanut brittle could just lift my spirits today!! Need to bury my head in writing about comfort food and warm thoughts.

Peanut Brittle was probably my first ever sweet bought by my grandfather for his grandchildren to share in the 1950's. And perhaps it was because of this sweet we develop a sweet tooth for the rest of our life!!

Wan Hin Bakery at the corner of the Island Road and Blacksmith Road in Sibu was famous for this sweet. The sugar content must be just right according to Mr. Toh whom I interviewed recently. He said his father fried the peanuts to perfection. He also added that fresh peanuts must be used and they must also be dried in the sun before frying in fresh oil.

The peanut brittle were wrapped in green white and red translucent paper and they were indeed very attractive. These sweets sold well not because they were tasty but because they were also part of the Foochow bride price.

(Traditional coloured paper wrappings)

The Wan Hin Bakery was so famous that every potential bride must have her bridal biscuits and dowry cakes (leh pian) made by them. It was the number one bakery in those days. I still remember the Foochow wedding biscuits were almost a foot in diameter and at least one inch thick. They probably weighed a pound each.

(Newer plastic wrappings - common packaging of peanut brittle made in Miri - prices are quite reasonable at RM2.00 per packet)

While one had to make an order for wedding biscuits these peanut brittles could be bought every day. And they were displayed beautifully in the glass cabinets. Today shops no longer have these kinds of glass cabinets for style and security reasons. How time has changed over the years.

(Export quality peanut brittle - gifts from Singapore)

I am glad that most of us are still nostalgic for our traditional cakes and goodies.

You might like to have a simplified recipe here - you can make it at home. Or just go to a super market and buy some off the shelves soon. And all memories of your childhood will come back.

This recipe is adapted from

Tip: Have all the ingredients for this recipe measured out and ready. This recipe requires that you react quickly. You do not have time to measure ingredients in between steps.

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup roasted peanuts/hazelnuts/almonds/black and white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.

2. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.

3. Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter or margarine and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14x12 inches; cool. Snap candy into pieces.

There are other recipes of course. Perhaps you already have a good one.

this is a good sweet to serve at Christmas and Chinese New Year. Also you can crush the peanut brittle and use it to garnish your servings of icecream.

This photo makes me want to go and make some peanut brittles!

Enjoy! I think I must call my peanut brittle - Obama's Peanut Crunch!

5 memories:

Yan said...

That's my favourite. I bought two small packets of it in Ho Chi Minh City.

Sweet though, well, some sweet indulgences to pamper myself!

sarawakiana said...

Hi It is nice to hear from you. I am sure you had a great holiday with your H.

Peanut Brittle is quite international really. Must find out all the different ways of making it. It is a "pick me up" food...Nuts are good for any one...and be always pampered by something sweet!!


Arani Jantok said...

over in australia, we have the same thing,but it is imported from malaysia. which is really good. because nobody will miss it now... i will always remember the taste of peanut brittle... such good memories with them.. especially during family drives from Sibu to miri..

sarawakiana said...

Great to hear that. It is always wonderful to have memory triggers to help make life fuller and better.

God bless.

Li-Ann said...

my mother is always making this for me and bringing over loads when she comes to visit me in australia!

one thing i want to ask though- does anyone have a way to prevent the brittle from hardening so quickly? my mum is convinced there is vinegar in some recipe somewhere (we read this when we visited someone's house and read their nyonya kuih recipebook).


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