She’s been making her peanut brittle from a family recipe for 35 years, but she spent much of her career in banking. She would make it for friends and some of her customers who wanted to give it as gifts.
Working in mortgage banking when “the sky was falling” during the economic crash convinced her to try to make a business of her candy making and open Bluffton Brittle.
“I had a choice of being frustrated with things or getting the candy kettle out and seeing where it went,” she said.
She made the candy on her own, but she got help from others in starting her business. She got advice from the Strom Thurmond Institute at Clemson University and also got a grant to help pay for packaging and website design. She also got help from her local technical college and chamber of commerce.
As a micro-entrepreneur, she’s created a job for herself. If her company grows, she may be able to provide jobs for others.
She makes plain peanut brittle, Jalapeno peanut brittle, white chocolate-covered brittle and double chocolate-covered brittle.
“That candy is not your everyday ordinary commercial peanut brittle,” Collins said. After eating a couple of bags, I agree. It contains extra large peanuts, and it isn’t so hard that it will break your teeth.
Collins said she has shipped cases to an orthodontist customer, “so I consider it dentist approved.”
The recipe for the plain brittle was her family’s, but the chocolate (She uses Ghirardelli Chocolate.) and jalapeno versions are her creations. The plain and jalapeno brittles are gluten free.
She makes her brittle in the kitchen of the Downtown Deli as the orders come in. No additives or preservatives are used, and Collins isn’t into mass production.
“My product is best when it’s fresh,” she said, although it will stay fresh indefinitely if stored in a freezer.
A few places around the state carry Bluffton Brittle. You can find it at shops in the Hilton Head Island and Bluffton area, as well as at Jacob’s Country Store at the S.C. Farmer’s Market in West Columbia; The Sweetery in Anderson; and Irvin House Vineyards on Wadmalaw Island. (Irvin-House crumbles the jalapeno brittle and puts it on salads. Collins said the jalapeno isn’t “blow-your-head-off hot, but it has a nice kick.”)
It’s also for sale at 302 Artisans at Senate’s End in Columbia, a store that carries products made by members of the S.C. Specialty Food Association.
She also sells her brittle regularly at the Farmer’s Market of Bluffton.
Collins’ website is set up for wholesale orders, but she would be happy to get an email order from you through the site. Her prices are about $5 for 4 ounces; $10 for 8 ounces; and $20 for a pound.