Julie Giuffrida is Test Kitchen coordinator for the Los Angeles Times.
Here are eight ways to enjoy America’s favorite sandwich spread on National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day
In honor of National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day (March 1), we have gathered some fun peanut facts along with eight of our most popular peanut butter recipes.
Per capita, Americans eat more than six pounds of peanut butter a year and the stuff is found in 75% of pantries throughout the United States. While many cultures have long used ground peanuts in a variety of culinary applications, John Harvey Kellogg brought peanut butter to the modern world in the 1890s as a protein substitute for meat.
In the early 1900s, peanut butter (officially introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair) was considered a delicacy and was served in restaurants, tea rooms and fancy restaurants. It was an important source of protein on the home front during World War I due to meat rationing. During World War II, soldiers made PB&J sandwiches from the peanut butter, jelly and sliced bread included in their rations. Once home from the war, the practice continued and PB&J caught on in the general population.
Now America’s favorite sandwich, (the average American child will eat 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before finishing high school), it is even more fabulous as Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies and the cookies are just as quick and easy to make as the sandwiches. Use your favorite peanut butter and get creative with jelly flavors. For more texture, use chunky peanut butter.
Apple Tart With Peanut Butter Frangipane is basically a sophisticated version of the popular snack of peanut butter smeared on apples. Gussied up as a fancy dessert, the creamy frangipane helps the apple slices to adhere to the buttery puff pastry. Use tart, crisp apples such as Honeycrisp or Pink Lady so the flavors will really pop.
Salted Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies are best when made with peanut butter that contains only peanuts and salt, sometimes called all-natural or old-fashioned, such as Laura Scudder’s, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods’ 365 brand. The added fats, stabilizers and sweeteners in creamier peanut butters like Skippy or Jif and peanut butter spreads (there must be 90% peanuts to call it peanut butter) may allow for more consistent results, but they often lack the depth of flavor that you will get using “the real thing.”
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups are surprisingly easy to make. Give them your personal stamp using your favorite peanut butter and a darker chocolate than the milk chocolate typically used.
A great kitchen project for kids, No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars offer a delicious return on a low investment of effort and ingredients. And they are a satisfying snack for children and adults alike.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crinkles are everything we love about a chewy, crunchy crinkle cookie with salty-sweet, smooth-meets-crunchy and chocolate-peanut butter dynamics added to the party. If you can’t bake the cookies immediately after shaping them, pop them back into the refrigerator for a good 30 minutes so that they don’t flatten out while baking in the oven.
Lest you think the beloved spread is only for sweets, peanut butter spiked with chili crisp makes a rich-tasting, savory sauce for Nori Wraps with Baked Spicy Peanut Tofu. The mildly flavored tofu becomes infused with the earthy nuttiness of the peanut butter and gets some heat too. In another savory application, a spicy peanut sauce is tossed with pasta and bundled into lettuce wrappers with slices of chicken and strips of cucumber to make Chicken, Peanut and Noodle Wraps, inspired by Thai summer rolls.
Of course, you can always celebrate National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day with a classic PB&J sandwich. But doing something new can make it more fun and even more delicious.
Apple Tart With Peanut Butter Frangipane
Warm and rich peanut butter makes a frangipane layer on the bottom of this simple puff pastry tart, layered with tart, crisp apple slices.
Time2 hours 30 minutes
Salted Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies
These cookies have a deeper richness when baked with peanut butter that’s made with only peanuts (ideally roasted) and salt.
YieldsMakes about 4 ½ dozen cookies
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies
The best peanut butter and jelly sandwich comes in this cookie form. The easy dough requires only five ingredients and is fun for kids to bake.
YieldsMakes 16 cookie sandwiches.
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
These homemade peanut butter cups are a simple combination of peanut butter, powdered sugar, and crisped-rice cereal dipped in melted chocolate.
YieldsMakes about 4 ½ dozen miniature peanut butter cups
No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars
Our no-bake peanut butter bars are the perfect homemade treat to prepare with kids, since they require simple ingredients and low effort.
YieldsMakes 16 to 20 bars
Chocolate peanut butter crinkles
Chocolatey and full of texture, these are everything we love about a crinkle cookie with a hint of peanut butter added to the party.
YieldsMakes about 4 dozen cookies
Nori Wraps With Baked Spicy Peanut Tofu
Peanut butter and chili crisp make a flavorful marinade for baked tofu served with rice and toasted seaweed.
Chicken, peanut and noodle wraps
Butter lettuce, with its cucumber-like fresh flavor, adds a crisp, clean note to grilled chicken and noodles with a spicy peanut sauce.
YieldsServes 8 as an appetizer