Arlene's Cuisine

Peanut butter is a staple that can be found in just about everyone’s pantry, unless someone in the family has a peanut allergy. The peanut butter sandwich is probably the most popular use of peanut butter, but there are a lot of other ways peanut butter can be used.

Today’s recipes focus on those “out of the box” usages for this popular edible.

Peanut butter has been around a long time. It was invented in 1890 by a doctor who prescribed a nutritious, easily digested, high protein food for some of his patients. Because it has a high fat content, it can also be a partial substitute for fats in some recipes. Creamy or crunchy, it is probably the most popular sandwich spread in existence.

 

Peanut Butter

Swirl Brownies

  • 2½ sticks (1¼ cups) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 scant cup of flour

Cream ½ stick of the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar and beat in one of the eggs and cream cheese until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

Melt 1 stick of butter with the chocolate over low heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Let the mixture cool. In a separate bowl cream the remaining butter and sugar. Beat until fluffy and add the two eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended. Stir in the chocolate, vanilla and sifted flour and pour into a greased 13-by-9-inch pan. Drop dollops of the peanut butter mixture into the batter, swirling to marble it through the chocolate mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the mixture pulls slightly away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with crumbs sticking to it. Cool and cut into squares.

 

Chocolate

Peanut Butter Pie

  • 1 9-inch purchased chocolate cookie crumb crust

Filling:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups whipping cream, chilled
  • Topping:
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Mix the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the sugar. Beat the cream until it holds soft peaks and fold one-fourth of the cream into the peanut butter mixture. Then carefully fold in the rest. Mound the filling in the crust and chill overnight.

For the topping, bring the cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in the chocolate and let the topping cool about 30 minutes or until cool. Pour over the pie and chill about 45 minutes or until the topping is set.

 

Old-fashioned

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • ½ cup shortening (half butter)
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder (¼ teaspoon for Salida’s elevation)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda (scant ½ teaspoon for Salida’s elevation)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Mix shortening, peanut butter, sugars and egg. Sift the dry ingredients together and blend into the shortening mixture. Roll dough into 1¼-inch balls (or use a cookie scoop) and place cookies about 3 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten crisscross style with a fork dipped in flour. Bake about 12 minutes in a 375-degree oven. Makes about 3 dozen.

 

Peanut Butter

and Jelly Cookies

For an interesting variation of the Old-fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies, chill the dough and shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in crushed peanuts and place on cookie sheets about 3 inches apart. Make a thumbprint in the center of each. Bake about 12 minutes, and when you remove them from the oven spoon a small amount of jelly in the thumbprint.

 

Tomatoes Stuffed

with Peanut Butter

  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • ¼ cup diced celery

Cut a thin slice off the top off each tomato and scoop out the pulp. Mix the pulp with the remaining ingredients. Fill the tomato and bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.

 

Easy Peanut

Butter Bars

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1½ cups chocolate chips

Mix the first four ingredients and press into a 9-by-13-inch pan. Melt the chocolate chips and spread on top. Chill and cut into squares.

 

African-style

Peanut Chicken

  • 1 chicken, cut up
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 5 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chilies to taste
  • Red pepper to taste
  • Mashed potatoes

Brown the cut-up chicken pieces. Simmer the onion, green pepper, garlic and chilies. Add the peanut butter and tomato paste. Add the broth, salt and pepper, red pepper and chicken. Simmer about 20 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes.