Fah Sung Thong (Peanut and Sesame Brittle)

Fah Sung Thong (Peanut and Sesame Brittle)Fah Sung Thong when translated literally means peanut candy. This simple yet delicious candy is another childhood favorite that I took for granted. They were inexpensive and readily available. Mom had contacts and knew where to purchase freshly made ones for the holidays and festivities. These were made by friends in small batches and were far superior to the commercially available ones.

Fast forward to the year 2013. How difficult can this be? The ingredients list is short and the method appears to be pretty simple and straight forward. I never thought I would only be successful on the third attempt. Fortunately, raw peanuts and sesame seeds are not expensive and I had a good supply of both in my pantry.

Fah Sung Thong (Peanut and Sesame Brittle)

In my first attempt I over boiled the sugar while trying to take pictures and it quickly turned into one huge black sticky mess. I also forgot to add the flavorings I had intended to put in. The second time, I added the flavorings into the syrup which caused it to foam. This made it difficult for me to gauge the color of the syrup, thus under boiling it. After the two attempts, I made the necessary adjustments and was ecstatic that it came out just the way it should be. The third time’s a charm! :)

Yes, it is time again for another round of Nona-Nona with my blogging buddy Denise. It is my turn to select a theme for this month’s challenge. After some deliberation, I decided that we should do a CHINESE NEW YEAR dish with the Chinese New Year falling on February 10th this year. Most Chinese households in Malaysia and Singapore are currently busy preparing for the 15 days festivities. Since it is a big holiday there are many dishes Denise and I can prepare. Hopefully, this time we will not end up with the same dish again. So far we have had 7 challenges in all and would you believe we made the same dish twice? The first one was in the STREET SNACKS challenge where we both made boiled peanut. The second was the DECEMBER challenge where we ended up making tang yuan. You can check out our past challenges here. Now, let’s hop over to Singapore Shiok! to see what Denise has cooked up in her kitchen.

Fah Sung Thong (Peanut and Sesame Brittle)

Traditionally, Fah Sung Thong is made with just sugar and peanuts. Sometimes sesame seeds are included. I added red chili flakes and five-spice powder just because… I can’t say the five-spice powder was discernible (perhaps I should have used a little more) but the chili flakes did give a “bite”. I love the slight spiciness but omit it if you prefer to stick to the original taste.

The purpose of the vinegar is to lighten up the brittle so that it breaks when you bite instead of having to suck it like a lollipop or toffee. Vinegar reacts with the sugar to form carbon dioxide which is trapped in the highly viscous syrup. When cooled, the candy has a clear glass like appearance. Out here in the West, baking soda is used instead. It is added at the end, causing the syrup to foam. When cooled, the candy has a frosted look.

It is best to use a thermometer for this recipe if you have one. I do not have one and so I eye balled it. The times given are what I experienced in my kitchen. A few words of caution when making candy – Do NOT touch the syrup, it is HOT! Work fast as it hardens quickly and most IMPORTANT of all, be CAREFUL!

Fah Sung Thong (Peanut and Sesame Brittle)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 40 1½-in x 1-in pieces
  • 1½ cups (8 oz/225g) shelled raw peanuts
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp five-spice powder
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • ¼ cup (35g) sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup (220g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) water
  1. Place peanuts in a single layer and roast in a 350°F (180°C) oven for about 13 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and immediately toss with salt and five-spice powder. Set aside and allow it to cool.
  2. Line a 10-in x 6½-in pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle half the sesame seeds and all the nuts over base of tin. Sprinkle the red chili flakes on the top. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, and water. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. This should take about 3 minutes. Bring to a boil. Cover and allow it to continue boiling for approximately 16 minutes or until sugar turns a light amber color or is between 300°F (149°C) and 310°F (154°C). Turn off heat.
  4. Pour melted sugar over peanuts and sesame seeds. Sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds evenly on the top.
  5. After about 5 minutes cut candy into rectangles before it cools completely.

Peanut brittle make lovely gifts and they are always well received. Peanuts signify longevity and multiplication of wealth and good fortune. :)

Fah Sung Thong (Peanut and Sesame Brittle)

The hard-crack stage is the highest temperature specified in a candy recipe. There is almost no water left in the syrup and the temperature is between 300°F (149°C) and 310°F (154°C). Nut brittles are cooked to this hard-crack stage. The picture below is my little piece of “testing” candy dropped into cold water. 2013 is the Year of the Snake. 😉

Fah Sung Thong (Peanut and Sesame Brittle)

I know this is a little early but I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all…..


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  1. says

    Hahahaha!! My choice of hup toh soh this time, was a calculated one 😀 I remember you had already posted it previously, so I knew I would be safe 😉

    Your peanut brittle is gorgeous!!! It brings back primary school day memories of crunching on little slabs of them while waiting for my school van to pick me up. So sticky and I actually chipped a tooth because of it! But, it tasted so delicious back then. I still love it, though I can’t eat as much of it now as my sugar tolerance has gone way down. Lovely, lovely pics and the testing candy looks almost sculptural – reminds me of a dolphin prancing on its tail!

    • Biren says

      Great choice, Denise! Hup To Soh is also one of my favorites! I should make it again soon. :)

      Homemade peanut brittle is so much better as it is really brittle and not as hard as the commercial ones. I do limit my intake to one or two pieces each time. What I made is going to last me for a while.

      The testing candy makes me thin of a cobra, don’t you think?

    • Biren says

      You know I like spicy foods. I actually got the idea from a cookie I saw on the web a while back. I must say I am very pleased with the way it turned out. :)

  2. Dongxing says

    Biren, you read my mind! I was thinking of making peanut brittle for this weekend and had decided that I will first check your blog to see if you have a recipe, and voila! Thank you and thank you. I am definitely going to make this candy this weekend. I like your syrup scuplture – very artistic.

    • Biren says

      I am glad to hear that you found another recipe here that you would be trying. All the best with it this weekend. It is not difficult but you do have to watch the syrup quite closely because it will burn quickly once past the light amber color.

  3. Shri says

    Dear Biren! Looks and sounds delicious! We have so many varieties of brittle in Indian cuisine too. Didn’t know that vinegar is used.
    Liked the orange flavours.
    Wish you a very happy new year ahead!

    • Biren says

      Thanks Shri! Never tried orange flavored brittles but it sounds wonderful. I will have to check them out. Thanks for the well wishes and same to you.

  4. says

    This candy looks amazing. I love peanuts and sesame like this. Fantastic job Biren!! Wishing you and your family a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year. :)

  5. Jeanne says

    Wow I used to love this too along with a little rectangular flaky biscuit made of crushed peanuts or maybe hazelnuts but I can’t remember its name. How I miss piping hot kachang cake too.

    CNY is just around the corner so the post X’mas diet is wtill on hold. I see lots of bak kua on the horizon awaiting me this weekend at my Chinese & Vietnamese friends homes.
    Happy New Year of the Serpent to you & your family Biren!
    *so glad to see the CAPTCHAs back on my page for comments :)*

    • Biren says

      So glad you are able to comment once again. :) I don’t know the reason for the disappearing captcha but I did experience it yesterday at another blog.

      I think the flaky crushed peanut biscuit you are referring to is kong th’ng. I love that too and will have to find a way to make it sometime. Kacang cake on the other hand may be new to me but then again it may have a different name in Malaysia. I wonder if you are referring to Ban Jian Kuih.

      Yes, sadly the diet has to be put on hold for a while longer. Hopefully we can get back on track after Valentine’s Day. Happy New Year to you and your family! :)

      • Jeanne says

        Yes Biren, Kong Th’ng is the flaky peanut biscuit I was refering to. One of my favourite snacks.

        Yes again to Ban Jian Kuih alais the kachang cake I was refering to. I had fun reading your post about it and had a little giggle about the controversial thickness of the crust that fans might disagree about. Personally I prefer with lots of peanuts and not too thick as it can get heavy to digest. We can get almost everything here in France at the Asian supermarkets but Ban Jian Kuih is not one of them. Thanks for the recipe :) I’ll give it a go. Especially at the moment when its so cold. I have acquantances in Wisconsin so I know what a biting cold spell you are going through too :(

        • Biren says

          Kong th’ng is most flaky when fresh and very delicious. When I visited my parents last summer, my cousin brought some to a dinner and I saved mine to savor at a later time. :)

          Glad to hear you enjoyed the Ban Jian Kuih post. I hope you give it a try as it is pretty simple to make and the ingredients easily available out here in the West. Do use a flat bottom pan without ridges to get a more even color on the crust. I chose the wrong pan to use but the only one I had of that size.

          Yes, it is mighty cold over here, especially in the last two to three weeks. I used to be able to take it in my stride but age is catching up and it seems colder than ever with each passing year. 😉

  6. says

    I can not even begin to tell you how much I love brittle! This brittle looks awesome and I love the addition of the 5-spice and chilli!! Happy Chinese New Years!

    • Biren says

      Brittle can be addictive but the excuse for me this time is that it is Chinese New Year. :) I will try to be good after Valentine’s Day. :) I do like the slightly spicy taste to these brittle.

  7. Maureen says

    Hi Biren here in Australia I have been looking for a recipe for gula kachang!! Many thanks. Also a hardback to schooldays does any one have a recipe for gula tarek…like taffy I guess. Also what’s meant by website? God bless

  8. says

    I still see this being sold on the streets in Klang and they were quite good…didn’t know they are so easy to make! Looks delicious and I am not even a fan of peanuts! Happy Chinese New Year to you Biren:D

    • Biren says

      I like the freshly made ones as they are not as hard. The ones my mom buys from her friends and contacts are good too because they are homemade in small batches. Happy New Year to you as well, Jeannie! :)

  9. says

    This really does bring back fond memories. I really like your recipe. Its simple and easy to follow though i think i won’t be adding any chili flakes. It great to give as a gift especially if you know they are a nut lover. I only have one question, does it matter what kind of vinegar i use? I was going to use white/clear vinegar, is that ok?

    • Biren says

      I am glad to hear these brought back fond memories. :) Yes, white vinegar is fine. I used white vinegar too.

  10. Bobby says

    Putting the paper as the base, will the sugar mixture stick to it after it cools? Am afraid the paper stays on and I’ll find removing it difficult. Thanks


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