Honey Peanut Brittle

Makes 12 pieces

Tammy Horn is a professor at Berea College who wrote Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation. She notes that many enslaved African Americans came from beekeeping countries and brought their honey-hunting skills to America. From looking at recipes and songs, she concludes that some Africans used honey before coming to America and incorporated it into plantation menus. Native American groups bartered beeswax and honey with enslaved people as well as French traders and English, German, and Dutch settlers.

This candy deliciously celebrates those all but forgotten intertwinings in early American society. It also celebrates George Washington Carver, who advocated for everything peanut— as well as sweet potato. And for us most important, it celebrates B.B. Bright, the fairy-tale princess I invented in the doctor’s office when I was about three. B.B. is a brown beekeeper. If you’re going to eat candy, we think you should make it. Having to make my own certainly cuts down on the amount of candy I eat.

 Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter,
plus more for the pan
4 cups dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
1⁄2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
Preparation

Butter a baking sheet.

In a deep pot, bring the nuts, sugar, honey, and lemon juice to a simmer over high heat, mixing constantly to make sure not to burn the sugar. Boil the sugar mixture until it reaches 300°F on a candy thermometer. (If you don’t have a candy thermometer, another way to test the temperature is to drop a bit of the mixture into a glass of ice water. If it hardens, you’re all set!) Once the sugar begins to darken, carefully stir in the baking soda, butter, and salt. The sugar will fluff up from the baking soda, so be careful. Pour the brittle mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and allow it to cool completely before breaking it into pieces.

Put the brittle in a sealed container or plastic bag, and store it somewhere cool and dry—if you’ve got any left once you’ve tasted it!

The above excerpt is taken from Soul Food Love by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams (Clarkson Potter, 2015)