Do you like to make (or just eat!) peanut brittle at Christmas?
Thelma Swartzentruber shared some memories of her mother’s contributions to Mennonite Community Cookbook on Facebook earlier this year, but many may have missed them there. So we thought we’d highlight them here on the blog.
This also gives us a chance to highlight a recipe for Peanut Brittle—a treat many of us enjoy or make at Christmas if no other time of year. The recipe for Peanut Brittle in Mennonite Community Cookbook was contributed by Thelma’s mother, “Mrs. Paul Maust,” on page 445.
Thelma WROTE: “Your article brought back memories of how my mother received her cookbook. She was one of those who collected recipes for Mary Emma Showalter. This is the story my mother told me:
‘[As part of her master’s work] Showalter needed to test X amount of recipes and was also required to publish [something]. So she combined the two and did the cookbook.’
“I don’t read that in the cookbook, but I do read the part mom told me, about Showalter writing to people all across the country and asking them for recipes. Mom was one of those who collected recipes for her and was rewarded by receiving a free cookbook when they were published. I remember the day our cookbook came in the mail.
“Mom’s recipe for peanut brittle is on page 445, Mrs. Paul Maust. We used the Ice Cream Candy recipe to make taffy (p. 442) and also a favorite cake recipe was the Devil’s Food Cake (p. 208). In May 2015 we [celebrated] our 50th anniversary. On our wedding day we received a Mennonite Community Cookbook as a wedding gift from a friend with this inscription inside the front cover: ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’ The cookbook is very soiled and taped but sure brings back memories.”
Here’s Thelma’s mother’s recipe for Peanut Brittle as it appeared in the 1950 version and the 2015 edition.
2 cups sugar
1 cup white syrup [Karo]
½ cup water
3 cups raw peanuts
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine sugar, syrup and water.
Cook to the soft-ball stage (236 degrees).
Add peanuts and melted butter and continue cooking until syrup is a golden brown (290 degrees.) Stir during last few minutes of cooking.
Remove from heat and add soda and vanilla.
Stir until mixture thickens.
Pour into buttered tins and break into pieces when cold.
If roasted peanuts are used, add to syrup before removing from heat.
Recipe originally submitted by Mrs. Paul Maust, Montgomery, Ind. and Mrs. M.T. Brackbill of Harrisonburg, Va., (who was the photographer for the original and longstanding photos used in the cookbook).
Thank you, Thelma, for sharing your story and highlighting this wonderful recipe for some good old fashioned homemade peanut brittle! Perhaps mix some up this weekend?
And remember, the Mennonite Community Cookbook special 65th anniversary edition is still on sale until Christmas 2015 for 30% off! Stock up for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries to come!