Peanuts. What can I say. We love 'em. Did you know: it takes 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar. The average American consumes more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products per year. Sixty percent of consumers prefer creamy over crunchy. The peanut is not a nut, but a legume related to beans and lentils. The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup was first introduced in 1928. Okay, Enough trivia. For more pb facts check out the National Peanut Board site.
|OK Farm Bureau Photo|
Farmers grow alot of peanuts here in southwest Oklahoma. Most of the peanut farmer's we know personally live in Tillman County. So in honor of our friends, and National Peanut Butter Day I'm sharing one of our favorite easy cookie recipes, Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies. They whip up in a jif (pun intended!) and are so easy even your little ones can help. And here's a tip: Mix the ingredients in zip- loc bags, then let the kids knead the bag till mixed. Once they are dipped out by the teaspoonful, the kids can criss-cross the cookies with a fork dipped in sugar. (They don't have to be pretty.)
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. (I just use a spatula.) Drop by teaspoonful onto baking sheet and press with fork. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 10-11 minutes. Cool before removing from the baking sheet as these are soft peanut butter cookies. Yields 2 dozen.
Another favorite when the kids were little was what we called Peanut Butter Playdough. I don't know if it's called anything else but when the kids were little they liked to mix it up, play with it and eat it. It was fun for a rainy or snowy afternoon.
Peanut Butter Playdough
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cup dry milk powder
In a medium bowl combine peanut butter and honey. Stir in dry milk, mixing well. Store in a zip loc bag. Doubles easily. If the dough is too sticky you can add powdered sugar until it reaches a consistency you like.
Lastly, I occasionally make my own nut butters. Easy and all natural, especially if you source your peanuts straight from the farmer. If your peanuts are not already roasted, it's easy to do in the oven. Just layer your raw peanuts, in the shell or shelled, one layer deep in a shallow baking pan. (I use a cookie sheet.) Roast in a 350 degree oven 15-20 minutes for shelled, 20-25 for in-shell peanuts. TIP: Remove from the oven just before desired doneness as they will continue to cook as they cool!)
Once they are roasted, making the peanut butter is easy. I use a food processor.
Homemade Peanut Butter
2 cups roasted peanuts, shelled (see directions above for roasting)
1/2 teaspopon salt (Omit if salted nuts are used)
Process ingredients continuously in your food processor for 2 to 3 minutes. As the peanuts grind they will start to form a ball which will slowly disappear. Continue to process until the desired consistency is reached. You will probably have to stop your food processor periodically and scrape down the sides of the bowl. For crunchy style, stir in 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts after the processing is complete. Makes about 1 cup smooth. Store in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator. (I use a glass jar.) It's normal for oil to rise to the top, just stir it in before using.
Don't forget to check out those pb facts, and this article in Prevention Magazine. Enjoy National Peanut Butter Day!