By Laura O'Shaughnessy, 1st March 2016

Calling all Peanut Butter Lovers

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.

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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.

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To make 12 of these simple peanut snacks you will need:

This is a low faff, easy to make recipe:

  1. Get your ingredients together, plus baking tray and spatula and preheat the oven to 150 degrees F (fan setting).
  2. Mix everything together and press down in a baking tray or ceramic dish. Try to get the mixture to a fairly equal depth of around 1.5cm. If you don’t fill the whole tray don’t worry, the mixture will hold together well and keep its form. Just try to keep a straight edge.
  3. Leave in the for around 20 minutes until the bake turns a golden brown.
  4. Let the tray/dish cool for 15 minutes but not till it’s completely hard, before cutting into bars and lifting from the dish.
  5. Enjoy as soon as they’re cool enough to eat and store in an airtight container.

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.

Makes 12 diddy cups:

These are so simple to make, but you do need to work quickly. The chocolate will set pretty fast, so don’t hang about aiming for perfection or you’ll end up not being able to get an even distribution of the chocolate in the cases.

So there you have it. Two scrummy peanut lovers’ recipes – what are your favourite peanut butter delicacies? Or even better – what is that one food that reminds you of childhood?

(Note from The Editor: Laura O’Shaughnessy writer regularly for The Glass House Girls – you can find more of her work here. Check out her personal blog for more recipes or visit her on Facebook.)

  • 120g oats
  • 100g tahini
  • 100g crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  1. Get your ingredients and utensils ready and place 12 small petit four cases on a board.
  2. Melt half of your chocolate and create a base of chocolate in each cup using around 2.5ml of chocolate. I do this using a children’s medicine syringe. It’s a much less messy way of working with the chocolate and allows you to see how much you are using. Try to encourage the chocolate up the sides a little to create a chocolate case.
  3. Leave to cool and set in the fridge for 5 minutes.
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  4. Spoon a small dollop of smooth peanut butter into each case. You will need about half a teaspoon per cup. You don’t need to be too neat with this, the banana will encourage the peanut butter to spread out.
  5. Place thinly sliced banana on top of the peanut butter cups, pushing gently down to ensure enough space for the final layer of chocolate.
  6. Melt the remaining chocolate and follow the same method as in step 2 – this time making sure the chocolate completely covers the banana to the edges of the case.
  7. Allow them to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before getting stuck in. You can nibble neatly, but they are far more marvelous when eaten whole!
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