Two of the Best Peanut Butter Recipes
It’s annual Peanut Butter Lovers’ day. It’s official. You have been given permission to get out there and load up on heavenly nutty naughtiness. For one day only, enjoy peanut butter in whichever way you choose, simply naked on toast or as part of a more sophisticated sweet or savoury recipe.
Peanut butter memories
Peanut butter fell into the same category as Nutella when I was growing up. It didn’t reside as a permanent feature in the cupboard alongside marmalade and honey. I imagine it didn’t cost much more than regular toast toppers. However, in our world peanut butter was a heralded and rare delicacy. So rare we only consumed it (or inhaled with great speed in my case) once a year. In fact, I’m not even sure my mum’s fair hands have ever even touched a jar of the peanut magic.
No, it was my dad that played my peanut butter partner. Every holiday we’d embrace our daily post beach ritual of fresh baguette generously covered in crunchy peanut butter, washed down with bottled Coca Cola. In fairness, by the end of day fourteen I think we’d both consumed enough that we were happy to lay off it for a while. But God it was good, those snacks tasted glorious after a frazzling day in the heat. Funny, it’s not always the big ticket gifts or milestone victories that make you smile looking back. Some of the most special memories are of quirky little routines or small moments your parents made special.
History seemingly repeats itself, as I don’t stock peanut butter in my cupboard either. I buy it to bake with from time to time and the kids love that treat. Interestingly, whatever I leave in the jar is gone within a day. I must have unintentionally past down some sort of feast or famine relationship with the nutty stuff.
Healthy or Naughty?
Peanuts are not actually nuts, they’re legumes, but they do have a lot of the same characteristics as nuts. They’re high in protein and full of fibre, which means they’re great fuel and can positively contribute to a healthy digestive system. So in principle peanut butter is made from a highly nutritious ingredient.
To be legally labelled peanut butter, producers have to use at least 90% peanuts in their end product. Look on the supermarket shelves and you should be able to find the authentic stuff, often featuring the addition of a little oil and salt. However, you’ll also spot the fraudsters, the ‘peanut butter spreads’ with extra sugar, stabilisers and preservatives thrown in for fun. If you buy right, you’re getting a fairly wholesome and healthy food.
The problem lies in the fact that regardless of which you pick, peanut butter is both chronically calorific and dangerously moreish. Even if you buy the truest form of organic peanut butter available, you still need to apply massive feats of self-restraint when you get home. I know very few people who get the same plate licking, lip smacking satisfaction from a measured teaspoon of peanut butter as I do from diving into the jar with a cereal spoon.
How do you eat yours?
The big decision is whether to go smooth or crunchy. I’m a fan of the little nutty bits so would pick crunchy hands down. Sometimes though, a more velvety texture is called for, particularly when pairing with chocolate in baking. So to make it fair, I’ve put together two delicious recipes, to bring a smile to both the smooth and crunchy lovers alike.
Crunchy Oaty Peanut Butter Bars
First up, one of our more regular peanut butter bakes. This recipe brings together a few wholesome ingredients, making them one of the healthier ways to get your peanut butter fix. They’re oaty, crumbly, super peanuty and packed with slow releasing energy. When a batch of these are around, the children get a more substantial snack at break-time and I get a decent re-fuel after exercise. Either way, I am all over the benefits of this kind of snack.
Smooth Peanut Butter Cups
These cheeky little peanut butter bites provide the perfect balance of sweet and salty and because they’re only dinky, you can hopefully curb your enthusiasm with perfect portion control. Loved by children and adults alike, these tempting little cups combine classic ingredients for a nostalgic treat.