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       Volume I - June 26, 2009

Healthy Peanut Brittle?
by Alice Osborne & Patty Liston

Peanut brittle is one of those confections that could almost be healthy, if only it didn’t feel like biting into shards of hardened refined sugar and corn syrup–the dominant ingredients in most versions.

But all those peanuts–they’re great! Chock full of protein, vitamins (especially E), essential minerals, and phytochemicals, if you’re going to eat candy, having one loaded with healthy nuts is a pretty good approach.

Melissa Breyer, of Care2, shared a recipe for a peanut brittle that traded natural sweeteners for refined ones, making a much more wholesome peanut brittle than commercial versions. While it won’t be void of calories, they are more wholesome and healthy calories. There is also fun to be had in customizing the recipe with different spices—Melissa suggested cinnamon or cardamom with a little sprinkle of cayenne for a sweet, spicy, salty mix (add spices at the very end).

Her recipe substitutes sucanat for traditional white refined sugar. Here’s the scoop on this product:

Sucanat: The trade name for this product stands for SUgar CAne NATural, and is made from evaporated sugar cane juice. It is then milled into granules much the same size as white sugar, but with a tawny hue. Sucanat is about 88 percent sucrose, or simple sugar, as compared to table sugar, which is 99 percent sucrose, but it retains more vitamins, minerals, and other trace nutrients found in sugar cane. Sucanat has a mild but distinct flavor, with a hint of molasses. As an all-purpose sweetener for baking, cooking, and in hot or cold drinks, use it as a 1-to-1 replacement for white sugar.

Better-For-You Peanut Brittle

1 cup Sucanat
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup peanuts, or any favorite nut
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring Sucanat, agave syrup, salt, and water to a boil. Stir until Sucanat is dissolved. Bring to a boil and add coconut oil and vanilla, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 280° on the candy thermometer.

Add peanuts and continue stirring 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.

Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda. Work quickly and pour at onto cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and spread peanut mixture into rectangle. Cool and then break candy into pieces.

  Download this recipe.

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