When I was a child, in the '50s, this was one of my favorite candies. If I had a dime, I'd stop and buy one on the way to school. They were so big, I could share one with a couple of friends. They were about 3 inches in diameter and 1/3- to 1/2-inch thick.
About the time, it became hard to find them at the corner store, my mom found this recipe, which duplicated the original very closely. In fact, I think it even tastes better!
Combine the first five ingredients in a heavy saucepan or cast-iron skillet. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and bring to a soft-ball stage (A soft ball forms when you drop a little into a bowl of cold water). Or use a candy thermometer if your mama didn't teach you how to do this. The thermometer will tell you what temperature a "soft-ball" is. I don't know! NOTE: The 45-minute cook-time listed is approximate. It might take more or less time for your mixture to reach the soft-ball stage. Don't go by a clock, go by the temperature of the candy.
Remove from heat. Add red food coloring and salt.
Stir until mixture begins to thicken and loses its “shine.” (You can let it cool a few minutes before you start stirring...otherwise you might need someone to help you stir!)
Drop by spoonfuls about 1 inch apart on buttered aluminum foil. (Or spread in an 8x8” buttered cake dish and cut into squares after it hardens.)To make them more like the original, you can butter a "muffin top" pan and fill the holes with the candy mixture. This will give you 10-12 thick, round patties that are similar to the originals.
If you make it without the red food coloring and/or the red-skinned peanuts, it will taste the same. It just won’t look like the original. (To ME they don't taste as good, but I'm sure it's just the power of suggestion! I don't think red peanuts really taste much different than regular ones.)