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Chinese Peanut Brittle Recipe: How to Make This Delicious Snack at Home

If you're looking for a delicious and easy-to-make snack or dessert, you can't go wrong with Chinese peanut brittle. This sweet and crunchy treat is a popular snack in China, especially during the Chinese New Year celebrations. In this article, we'll introduce you to the history and significance of Chinese peanut brittle, show you how to make it yourself, and give you some tips on how to store and serve it.

A wok sizzles with sugar and peanuts, bubbling into a golden caramel. A spatula stirs the mixture, then pours it onto a greased surface to cool and harden

Chinese peanut brittle, also known as fah sung thong, is a traditional Chinese snack that has been enjoyed for centuries. It's made by combining sugar, peanuts, and sesame seeds and cooking them until they become golden brown and crispy. The resulting brittle is sweet, nutty, and incredibly addictive. In China, it's often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year celebrations, as it's believed to bring good luck and prosperity to the recipient.

Making Chinese peanut brittle is surprisingly easy, and it requires only a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. In this article, we'll show you how to make Chinese peanut brittle step-by-step and give you some tips on how to get the perfect texture and flavour. We'll also show you some variations on the classic recipe, including how to make sesame peanut brittle and ginger peanut brittle. So, let's get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese peanut brittle is a sweet and crunchy snack that's popular in China, especially during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
  • The recipe is easy to make and requires only a few ingredients, including sugar, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
  • You can store Chinese peanut brittle in an airtight container for up to a week and serve it as a snack or dessert.

History and Significance

A wok sizzles with sugar, peanuts, and sesame seeds. A fragrant aroma fills the air as the mixture caramelizes, creating Chinese peanut brittle

If you're a fan of Chinese cuisine, you've probably come across Chinese peanut brittle. This sweet and crunchy candy is a popular snack that is enjoyed all year round, but it holds particular significance during Chinese New Year celebrations.

Cultural Importance

Chinese peanut brittle, also known as Fah Sung Thong or peanut candy, has a long and rich history in Chinese culture. It is believed that the candy originated in the Guangdong province of China and was traditionally made by hand using a mixture of peanuts, sesame seeds, sugar, and maltose. The mixture is heated until it caramelizes and then poured onto a flat surface to cool and harden.

Chinese peanut brittle is often given as a gift during Chinese New Year celebrations as it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. The candy's sweetness represents the sweetness of life, while its hardness symbolizes strength and resilience.

Traditional Celebrations

During Chinese New Year, families gather together to celebrate the start of a new year. Chinese peanut brittle is often served as a snack during these celebrations, and it is also given as a gift to friends and family members. In addition to its cultural significance, Chinese peanut brittle is also a delicious treat that is enjoyed by people of all ages.

Today, there are many variations of the traditional Chinese peanut brittle recipe. Some recipes call for the addition of other nuts or spices, while others use different sweeteners such as honey or corn syrup. Regardless of the recipe, Chinese peanut brittle remains a beloved snack that is enjoyed by people all over the world.

Ingredients and Alternatives

A wooden table with a mixing bowl, peanuts, sugar, and a saucepan. A recipe book open to a page with instructions for Chinese peanut brittle

Making Chinese peanut brittle at home is easy and requires only a few basic ingredients. Here are some options to consider when choosing the ingredients for your recipe.

Choosing the Right Peanuts

The star ingredient of any peanut brittle recipe is, of course, the peanuts. You can use either raw or roasted peanuts for your brittle. Raw peanuts will give your brittle a more earthy flavour, while roasted peanuts will provide a nuttier and richer taste. If you prefer a more intense peanut flavour, you can use shelled raw peanuts or roasted unsalted peanuts.

Sweetener Varieties

The sweetness of the brittle comes from granulated sugar, which is melted and caramelised to create a toffee-like texture. Some recipes call for corn syrup, honey, or molasses as an alternative sweetener. However, using these sweeteners can change the texture and flavour of the brittle. If you want to experiment with alternative sweeteners, be aware that the final product may have a different taste and texture.

Additional Flavours

To add more depth to your peanut brittle, you can include sesame seeds in your recipe. Toasted sesame seeds will give your brittle a nuttier flavour and a subtle crunch. You can also add other nuts such as cashews, hazelnuts, or almonds to your brittle. However, keep in mind that adding other nuts may change the texture of the brittle.

Choosing the right ingredients for your peanut brittle recipe is important for achieving the desired taste and texture. Whether you prefer raw or roasted peanuts, granulated sugar or an alternative sweetener, or additional flavours such as sesame seeds or other nuts, experimenting with different combinations is key to finding your perfect recipe.

Preparation Techniques

A chef pours hot caramel over a mound of peanuts on a baking sheet

Roasting Nuts

The first step in making Chinese peanut brittle is to roast the nuts. You can use peanuts or walnuts or a combination of both. Roasting the nuts will enhance their flavour and give them a nice toasty aroma. Use a flat pan over low heat to dry-roast the nuts. Stir constantly to prevent burning and roast until the nuts are fragrant and toasty, which should take about 10 minutes. Once the nuts are roasted, allow them to cool completely. Once cooled, use a rolling pin to loosen the skins from the peanuts.

Melting Sugar

The next step is to melt the sugar. In a saucepan, dissolve sugar in water over low heat. Add vinegar to prevent crystallization of the sugar. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the sugar. Once the sugar reaches 300°F (150°C), remove from heat. Be careful not to overcook the sugar, as it will burn and turn bitter.

Mixing Ingredients

Once the sugar has melted, add the roasted nuts and grated ginger to the mixture. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Pour the mixture onto a greased baking sheet. Use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly. Let the mixture cool and harden before breaking it into pieces.

When making Chinese peanut brittle, it is important to use low heat to prevent burning the sugar. Adding vinegar to the sugar mixture will prevent crystallization. Using a candy thermometer will help you monitor the temperature of the sugar. Adding grated ginger to the mixture will give it a nice spicy kick. By following these preparation techniques, you can make delicious Chinese peanut brittle at home.

Cooking and Cooling

A pot of boiling sugar and peanuts, then spreading the mixture onto a greased surface to cool

Achieving the Perfect Texture

Making Chinese peanut brittle is all about achieving the perfect texture. To do this, you need to pay close attention to the cooking time and the colour of the caramel. The ideal cooking time is between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on your stove. You want to cook the sugar until it turns a light amber colour. This will give you the perfect balance of sweetness and nuttiness.

It's important to keep stirring the mixture constantly to avoid burning it. If you're unsure about the cooking time, you can use a candy thermometer to check the temperature. The ideal temperature is between 300°F and 310°F (149°C and 154°C).

Cooling Process

Once your caramel is ready, it's time to add the peanuts and sesame seeds. Mix everything together quickly and then pour the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a spatula to spread the mixture out evenly.

The next step is to let the peanut brittle cool completely. This is important because it allows the candy to harden and become crispy. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the baking sheet in the oven at a low temperature. Set your oven to 200°F (93°C) and leave the peanut brittle in there for about 10 minutes.

Once your peanut brittle is completely cool, you can break it into pieces and enjoy! Remember to store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh and crispy.

Making Chinese peanut brittle is a fun and rewarding experience. With a little patience and attention to detail, you can create a delicious and crunchy treat that everyone will love.

Storage and Serving

A wooden table with jars of peanuts, sugar, and sesame seeds. A mixing bowl and a saucepan on a stove. A tray lined with parchment paper for cooling the peanut brittle

Keeping It Fresh

Once your Chinese peanut brittle has cooled and hardened, it's time to store it properly. To keep it fresh and crunchy, store it in an airtight container at room temperature. This will prevent moisture from getting in and making the brittle sticky or soft. When stored properly, your peanut candy can last for up to two weeks.

Presentation Ideas

Chinese peanut brittle is not just a delicious snack, it can also be a beautiful addition to any dessert table. Here are a few presentation ideas to make your sweets stand out:

  • Break the brittle into small pieces and use it to decorate cakes or cupcakes.
  • Serve it on a baking tray with other snacks for a sweet and salty mix.
  • Wrap individual pieces in decorative paper or bags to give as gifts.

Nutritional Information:

Chinese peanut brittle is a sweet treat that should be enjoyed in moderation. One serving (about 30g) contains approximately 160 calories, 9g of fat, and 17g of sugar. While it's not the healthiest snack option, it's perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.

Overall, Chinese peanut brittle is a delicious and easy-to-make snack that can be enjoyed on its own or used to decorate other desserts. Just be sure to store it properly to keep it fresh and crunchy.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table with ingredients and utensils for making Chinese peanut brittle. Ingredients include peanuts, sugar, and oil. Utensils include a saucepan, wooden spoon, and baking sheet

What's the secret to making peanut brittle with a perfect crunch?

The secret to making peanut brittle with a perfect crunch is to cook the sugar mixture to the right temperature. The sugar mixture should reach the hard crack stage, which is around 150°C. This will ensure that the candy hardens and has a satisfying crunch when you bite into it.

How can I ensure my homemade peanut brittle isn't too sticky?

To ensure that your homemade peanut brittle isn't too sticky, you should cook the sugar mixture to the right temperature and add the peanuts and sesame seeds at the right time. If you add the peanuts and sesame seeds too early, they can release oils that make the candy sticky. You should also let the candy cool completely before breaking it into pieces.

Can you suggest a simple method for creating Chinese peanut brittle?

A simple method for creating Chinese peanut brittle is to cook sugar, corn syrup, and water until it reaches the hard crack stage. Then, add roasted peanuts and sesame seeds, and pour the mixture onto a greased baking sheet to cool. Once the candy has cooled, break it into pieces and store in an airtight container.

What's the traditional way to make Chinese peanut candy for New Year?

The traditional way to make Chinese peanut candy for New Year is to cook sugar, maltose, and water until it reaches the hard crack stage. Then, add roasted peanuts and sesame seeds, and pour the mixture onto a greased baking sheet to cool. Once the candy has cooled, cut it into small pieces and wrap them in red paper as a symbol of good luck.

Why do recipes for peanut brittle call for baking soda, and what does it do?

Recipes for peanut brittle call for baking soda because it helps to create a lighter, more airy texture. When baking soda is added to the sugar mixture, it reacts with the acid in the mixture and creates carbon dioxide gas. This gas gets trapped in the candy as it cools, creating a lighter, more brittle texture.

How many calories are typically in a serving of peanut and sesame brittle?

The number of calories in a serving of peanut and sesame brittle can vary depending on the recipe and serving size. On average, a serving of peanut and sesame brittle (about 1 ounce or 28 grams) contains around 150-170 calories. It's important to enjoy this treat in moderation as it can be high in sugar and calories.