At a Memorial Day barbecue a few weeks back a bunch of us were talking about our parents and families and the passing of generations. The discussion centered on which generation in American history was the greatest. After a long debate, we came to a friendly consensus that each generation since the founding of this union shared in the greatness of America. Our family included.
After my father passed away, I found a box of his “little treasures” that he had kept for years. I never had looked through the box of his personal letters and mementos; they were just there sitting on the top shelf of my closet. I don’t know why, but after the party and after all the talk, I felt compelled to search through his box of little treasures.
As I lifted the lid, I found some tiny baby booties. I’m not sure if they were mine, my brother’s or maybe even my father’s. It’s hard to believe that my feet were ever that small. I found an old autograph book—a collection of long-forgotten boxers, baseball players and a wrestler or two. A Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ebbets Field seat cushion autographed by Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snyder from the 1955 World Series. I guess way back then you didn’t have to fork over $1000 for an All-Star Athlete’s signature.
And then I stumbled onto some hand-written, seemingly secret “code” on a back page of the New York Times from 1904. There, scribbled in his own hand, over a picture of my Grandfather Max and none other than my presidential idol, Theodore Roosevelt, was a secret message. Max and TR? Was this story about Max being named an ambassador to some exotic foreign country or to a cabinet post? Was he returning from some secret spy mission? No, it was all about peanut brittle… not just any peanut brittle, but Max’s crunchy peanut brittle that was pictured with Max handing it to TR himself.
I had heard that old Max owned a moving company way back when the “vans” were pulled by horses. I heard the legend of how he had grabbed onto a rope that had broken away from a safe that his workers were hauling up to the 5th floor by block and tackle; he saved a half dozen kids below. I remember he used to tell us his heroic story showing us the burn scars on his hands. I also heard that he was a gentlemen’s banker, a stock broker, even a tax collector. But now, looking through my dad’s treasured keepsakes, I found out that Max made peanut brittle—not just any peanut brittle, but brittle fit for a President.
As I read on, I discovered the recipe dated back to the 1870s or ‘80s when Max first perfected his peanut “packin’” stuffed peanut brittle. Everyone, TR included, proclaimed that it was the best on earth. After a few calls to relatives, I found out that Max started delivering his fresh peanut brittle to the Roosevelt family when they lived in New York City. When T.R. became president, Max was asked to deliver his peanut brittle to Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay. In fact, rumor has it that his peanut brittle even made to the White House in Washington.
The cryptic, hand-written code turned out to be the recipe—Max’s secret peanut brittle recipe. I couldn’t wait to get to the Chocolate Studio on Tuesday and try it for myself. I started up the fire pot, added the sugars, syrups and butter—just plain honest ingredients—and turned it into a steaming caldron of molten goo. Wow! At 305º I stirred in the Spanish-style peanuts, added the vanilla and then shut off the gas. I got a little help to pour the magic mixture out on to the cooling slab. After a suitable cooling time, everyone agreed I had duplicated Max’s perfect peanut brittle recipe on the first try. Hey, Grandpa, I aced it the first time. Was this good enough to add to the Choclatique Collection? You bet.
While traditional peanut brittles tend to be a bit hard on the teeth (filling-pullers) and somewhat difficult to eat, Max’s secret recipe combines an abundance of Spanish, red-skin, US-grown peanuts into a perfectly-cooked, buttery, sugar brittle. The result is a much lighter bite that leaves a long-lasting, wonderful all-natural flavor you’ll never forget.
If you truly appreciate great peanut brittle, you will understand why Max’s customers said it is the very best they ever tasted. We are confident you will feel the same way when you take your first bite of our new Peanut Brittle Bites.
Now you might ask, how do you improve on perfection? Add a little chocolate, of course. Grandpa Max’s peanut brittle has been enhanced with a wonderful, light coating of Choclatique’s Prestige Milk Chocolate (32%) and dusted with crushed peanuts.
Our peanut brittle bites make wonderful gifts for family and friends, not to mention a terrific “personal stash.” They’re also a terrific thank-you or corporate gift. What was once a family secret is now available every day in the original 1870’s recipe and milk chocolate covered, too.
Max’s (and now Choclatique’s) old-fashioned Peanut Brittle Bites are now available all year round at Choclatique.com.