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Peanut Butter as You've Never Seen It Before

April 2, 2014

Peanut Butter as You've Never Seen It Before

April 2, 2014

April 2 is National PB and J Day, and as die-hard peanut butter fans, we’re ready to lay it on thick. Out of respect for the venerable spread, however, we’re thinking beyond jam and bread. Our sweet-and-savory recipes raise this pantry staple to top-shelf status.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Save the sandwiches for quick lunches — today calls for a special treat. These bars are guaranteed to make your day peanut better.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 jar (12 ounces) grape jelly
3/4 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts
1/2 cup peanut butter chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-inch square baking pan with butter and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter parchment.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. With a pastry cutter or your hands, work in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Add egg and vanilla extract; stir until dough just comes together. Set aside 1 cup dough and firmly press remaining dough into pan in an even layer. Using a small offset spatula, spread grape jelly over top.

3. Combine reserved dough, peanuts, and peanut butter chips; crumble over jam layer. Bake until topping is deep golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Run a sharp knife around edges, then, using parchment, lift cake from pan and cut into 12 squares.

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Peanut Butter and Jam Crepe Roll

Bread’s a reliable vehicle, but we like to spread the love around. Grilled lavash and chili paste highlight peanut butter’s savory side, while a giant crepe roll-up is fun for the whole family.

Simple Crepes recipe
1 tablespoon grape jam
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter

1. Spread a cooled crepe with grape jam and peanut butter. Roll, then slice into rounds with a serrated knife if desired.

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Peanut Butter-Stuffed French Toast

Morning carbs can be a recipe for a crash, but not when paired with peanut butter’s slow-releasing protein and fiber. Stuffed French toast gives a sandwich pan-fried panache, while waffles leave no holes in the flavor department.

1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
8 slices white bread
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Confectioners’ sugar

1. Toss strawberries with 3 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together eggs, remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla. Spread peanut butter on 4 slices bread and top with remaining slices.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Dip both sides of sandwiches in egg mixture and add to skillet (if necessary, work in batches, adding more butter and reducing heat to medium after first batch). Cook until undersides are golden, 2 minutes, then flip and cook 2 minutes. To serve, dust sandwiches with confectioners’ sugar and top with strawberries.

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Peanut Butter-Stuffed Apple

This portable snack’s genius lies in the engineering. Apples with peanut butter? Yawn. Apples prestuffed for ease of consumption and cleanup? A much more enticing proposition.

1 apple, halved and cored with a teaspoon
2 teaspoons all-natural crunchy peanut butter
1 teaspoon old-fashioned rolled oats

1. Stuff cored apple halves with peanut butter and sprinkle with oats.

Beef Satay with Peanut-Ginger Ramen

Peanut butter + ramen + things on sticks = foodie hipster nirvana.

2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons lime juice, divided
1 3/4 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger, divided
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
Vegetable oil, for grill
2 packages (3 ounces each) ramen, cooked according to package instructions (seasoning packet discarded)
Thinly sliced cucumber, for serving

1. Soak 12 wooden skewers in water, 15 minutes. In a shallow dish, whisk together 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and lime juice and 1 teaspoon each sugar and ginger. Add beef, toss, and let sit 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, 3/4 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon ginger with peanut butter and 1/3 cup water. Season with remaining soy sauce.

3. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Thread beef onto skewers. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Grill beef until charred and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Toss ramen with peanut-ginger sauce. Serve with beef and cucumber.

Easy Peanut Butter Cups

We know about your peanut-butter cup addiction, and we’re not judging. But one taste of our homemade version and there’ll be no going back to the store-bought stuff.

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped

1. Line two 12-cup mini muffin pans with paper liners; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine white chocolate and peanut butter. Microwave, until almost melted, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Meanwhile, place semisweet chocolate in another microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, stirring once or twice, until almost melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Dividing evenly, use a spoon to layer semisweet chocolate and peanut-butter mixture into liners, beginning and ending with chocolate; sprinkle with peanuts. Place muffin pans in freezer until peanut butter cups are firm, about 15 minutes. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Peanut-Butter-Filled Cupcakes

Oh look, a chocolate cupcake. What’s that? It’s filled with peanut-butter-marshmallow buttercream?! Our favorite kind of surprise.

Cooking spray
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray, then dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using a mixer, beat in eggs, buttermilk, oil, and 3/4 cup water on medium until smooth, about 3 minutes.

2. Divide batter among cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes and let cool completely on rack.

3. In a large bowl, using mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and peanut butter on high until fluffy, 3 minutes; fold in marshmallow topping. Transfer to a zip-top bag and cut off one corner to make a 1/2-inch opening.

4. With a melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake base and set aside (these pieces will plug cupcakes after filling). Hollow out each cupcake a bit more, discarding crumbs. Fill cavities with peanut butter mixture and replace plugs. (Refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 1 week.) To serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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