Peanut Butter Addiction

I was looking through the recipes I’ve created thus far for my next book, and close to 50% of them have peanut butter, nut butter, seed butter, or ground nuts in them (with a hefty chunk being just peanut butter). FIFTY PERCENT! I think I need to tone this down for the nut allergic folks out there.

This prompted me to look through my recipe index online today, and again, I noticed a trend …

Chocolate Double Peanut Butter Thumbprint Macaroons

Hot Peanut Butter Chocolate Bliss

chocpretzels

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Hearts

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

pbicecreamclose

Uber-Rich PB Ice Cream with PB Chunks (dairy-free, naturally)

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rice Cake Crumbles

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Popcorn (or rice cake crumbles)

Peanut Butter & Pomegranate “Jelly” Smoothie (Oh man, when is pomegranate season going to arrive?!)

 

I could link on, but that might take all morning.

There are worse vices to have, right? Please feed my addiction. Do you have any PB favorites? Brands? Recipes?

I’m off to make a peanut butter smoothie, and maybe some Asian peanut dressing for my salad at lunch …

Tempting Fudge “Ice Cream” with Magical Peanut Butter Shell

Ah, the things I do to taste the latest dairy-free foods. Cooler box packed into the car, we headed down to Reno, and the nearest Whole Foods. Of course, the trip to a town that is 45 minutes (and an “over-the-mountain” trip) away was about more than Whole Foods, we had errands to run. But I never pass up the chance to stop in to buy a few things since we visit less than once a month.

On this trip, I opted to pick up some hemp-based ice cream. I was leary when I first heard about it, but it seems to be getting rave reviews, even from dairy-consuming columnists. We decided to get two pints, and I let my husband pick. He chose Mint-Chip (yes!) and Chocolate Fudge (Really? Are you sure you don’t want the Vanilla Bean?).

Tempt Dairy-Free Hemp Ice Cream

After silently whining about his choice for a few minutes, I realized I could dress up the chocolate ice cream with … hmmm, some peanut butter perhaps?

As it turned out, this stuff tastes pretty awesome, so I really didn’t need a topping. It has a rich fudgsicle flavor with a pleasant chocolate fudge ribbon throughout. Ours did melt slightly in transit, so I think it was more hard packed than a freshly purchased pint. But even so, not the least bit of ice … this stuff was truly dense and rich!

Of course, a hard-shell topping of sweet peanut butter never hurts, and this combo was magically delicious …

Chocolate Fudge Temp Dairy-Free Hemp Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Magical Shell

Alisa’s Magical Peanut Butter Shell

Recipe adapted from my book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook.

This is a mini-version of a recipe in my book. I make little batches most of the time because I always forget about leftoveres like this. If you opt to make more, it should actually keep on the counter for a couple of days. If you store it in the fridge, simply reheat to melt when ready to use.

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, optionally Peanut- and Nut-Free, and optionally Refined Sugar-Free.

  • 2 Teaspoons Creamy Peanut Butter or SunButter (for nut-free)
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar or Powdered Coconut Sugar (I ground coconut sugar in my spice grinder)
  • Few Drops of Vanilla Extract (optional)
  • Tiny pinch of salt (omit if using salted PB or SunButter)

In a small dish, melt together the peanut butter or SunButter and the coconut oil (I just place them in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds if needed). With a fork, whisk in the sugar, vanilla, and salt, if using.

Scoop ice cream, drizzle PB mixture overtop. Watch the magic happen.

Yields enough for 2 ice cream sundaes

Chocolate Fudge Temp Dairy-Free Hemp Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Magical Shell

Peanut Butter Truffles and Cheap PB Cup Molds

This past week I was honored to do a guest post on Maggie’s blog, Say Yes to Salad, in honor of her much-anticipated marriage. I chose to write about the peanut butter truffles we made by hand (about 300 of them!) for the favor at a good friend’s wedding.

This post is related to that post, but there’s a little more to it. First, I wanted to add that recipe to my personal online blog collection (it is also in my book, Go Dairy Free, for those of you who have it). The recipe is below, Enjoy! Second, I wanted to share a new fun and “I don’t care what my husband says” cheap baking / un-baking item.

You see, I have wanted some little candy molds for a while, and was hoping to find some silicone ones because they are so darn easy. So when I spotted a dozen of these gems at Cost Plus World Market for just $2.49, I tossed them without hesitation into our basket …

candy molds

They are mini-muffin / cupcake cups. An application which I may use them for in the future, but they also make perfect candy molds, particularly for turning those peanut butter truffles into peanut butter cups …

PB Truffle Cups

As mentioned in Maggie’s post, my husband and I have been together for over 14 years now, and we grow closer each day. In fact, for almost all of those years, we have not only lived together, we also work together! Yes, we are rarely apart. He is actually just up the stairs typing away on his computer now. People often wonder how we do it. It’s easy … we still act like kids. We call each other names, joke around, play argue … keeping it light lets us vent while having fun. So I have a point with this.

When I put those little muffin cups into our basket, the following conversation ensued:

Husband – What are those?!!

Alisa – Muffin cups that I can use as candy molds. They’re only $2.49.

Husband – $2.49 for those? That’s ridiculous … way too much. Husband proceeds to remove molds from basket and put them back on the shelf. Snickering of course.

Alisa – But I need them!

We continue on through the store, and I sneak the molds back in the basket when he isn’t looking. We get up to the counter to checkout, and husband spots molds in the basket, removes them and hands them to the clerk …

Husband – We don’t need these, they are too expensive. You can put them back on the shelf.

Alisa – Agh … but! I want them.

Husband – laughs and purchases molds of course. I mean come on, they’re only $2.49!

A week later I made the peanut butter truffles in the candy molds, and of course, when he saw them in the fridge, my husband said, “I’m going to eat these since I had to pay dearly for the molds to make them!” Alisa calls husband “affectionate” name and both leave the room laughing. Husband happy with his reward …

PB Truffle Cups

 Yes, these types of conversations occur pretty much daily in our house.

 

Peanut Butter “Truffles”

This recipe is from my book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook

Casually elegant, these glorified peanut butter cups earned me rave reviews at a close friend’s wedding. For party favors, we wrapped a few little treats up in tulle and placed one on each guest’s plate. All night long, people I had never met approached me with recipe requests for “those incredible truffles.” While I would love to gloat on my innovation and labor, the recipe is embarrassingly easy …

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Powdered / Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Smooth All Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Dairy-Free Margarine or Shortening, Softened
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Ounces Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Shortening

Method

Combine the sugar, peanut butter, margarine or shortening, vanilla, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl, and blend until smooth.

Pinch off pieces of the peanut butter mixture and roll them into balls that are 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Since you won’t be baking them, the thickness of the filling is really up to you.

Place the peanut butter balls in a single layer on baking sheets lined with wax paper or non-stick baking mats (I flatten them slightly to keep them from rolling around), and freeze until they are firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.

While those are chilling, Place the chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon of shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH in 30 second intervals (just 2 to 3 should suffice), stirring vigorously between intervals, until the chocolate has just melted and is smooth. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate, as it can scorch easily.

Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer, dunk them in the melted chocolate to coat, and return them to the baking sheets to dry.

Place the truffles in the refrigerator or freezer to chill for 1 hour, or until the chocolate coating is firm. The truffles should keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yields approximately 2 Dozen “Truffles”.

Fresh and Nutty Maple Fig Spread

Today I am doing a guest post on The Whole Gang for a continuation of 30 Days to a Food Revolution. But, I also get to post it here. The idea is that I offer a tip for healthy living (whole foods and from scratch kind of stuff), and a recipe. So here you go …

Recipe: Fresh Maple-Fig Spread (recipe below)

fig spread

Tip: Treat yourself to a ‘new to you’ food at least once a month, and a healthy ‘splurge’ food at least once a week

I confess, even though I love whole foods and eating seasonally, I can easily get caught in an ordinary repetitive rut … banana smoothies for breakfast; homemade bread and nut butter for a snack; big salad with greens, carrots, and protein for lunch; an orange or apple for a snack; and a protein, grain, veggie dinner that usually contains broccoli, cauliflower, or a similar common veggie.

It wasn’t until I signed up for a CSA that I discovered the fun and excitement of trialing new-to-me foods. Sure, I still love my banana smoothies and an almost-daily heap of my still favorite veggie, broccoli, but throwing a new food in the mix on occasion really perks up my interest in from-scratch meals, and helps me to expand the variety in my diet.

I tried shooting for one new-to-me food per week, but the pressure was a little too much for me when I didn’t have a CSA for guidance. So I have changed up the program to something more manageable. Now I aim to trial one new-to-me food per month, BUT, each week I pick up at least one “splurge” food that is perhaps something that I have trialed before, but don’t indulge in very often. I guess you would call it re-introducing a food to increase the variety and pleasure in my diet. I often combine this concept with seasonality – a box of organic strawberries at their peak, some fresh ears of local corn mid-summer, or a kabocha squash when it makes its rare appearance at my small town grocer.

Keep in mind, the “new” or “reintroduced” food could be fruit, vegetables, whole grains, organic meats, wild seafood, a drink (think herbal or antioxidant tea, kefir, or kombucha), a wholesome baking ingredient, or even or even a fun “superfood” like maca, acai, or mulberries. The sky is the limit!

For some examples, here are a few creations I made with new-to-me and healthy splurge foods:

As it happened, this month the fruit CSA delivered an item that I couldn’t believe I had never tried before, fresh figs. The dried, wrinkly ones have entered my kitchen on several occasions, but this was my first taste of a fresh fig, and it was delicious! I had several, so I opted to make a spread that would replace my morning nut butter for a for a few days, and even used it to jazz up that banana smoothie …

Fresh Maple-Fig Spread

Feel free to add more fresh figs if you want to highlight the fruit even more. If you only have dried figs on hand, rehydrate them in warm water and puree away.

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free.

  • 1/4 Cup Cashews or Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Walnuts
  • 6 Medium-Sized Fresh Figs
  • 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup (can sub honey or agave)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt

Grind the cashews or almonds somewhat into a powder (I use an electric spice/coffee grinder). Add all ingredients to your food processor, and pulse, chop, or blend to your desired consistency. I made mine fairly smooth, but with some walnut chunks. Feel free to adjust the sweetness, salt, and spices as desired.

Yields about 1 cup

Smoothie Option – The figs help to sweeten up smoothies, while the nuts add some creaminess, healthy fat, and protein. Here I simply blended about 1/3 cup of the spread with 1 frozen banana (and an extra dash of cinnamon) for a lightly sweet and tasty breakfast treat. Feel free to sweeten to taste if your fruit isn’t quite ripe and/or add some protein powder for a little more muscle in your beverage …

fig smoothie

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Chocolate Explosion Oatmeal Cookies

I was in a baking mood and my husband was in a cookie eating mood, so I whipped out my copy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar for a little inspiration, and to give the book another go. So far, it has been a little hit and miss … the hits scoring big points, and the misses still tasting okay, but often a bit too sweet and lacking in the performance category.

Fortunately, the Chocolate Fudgey Oatmeal Cookies were a hit with the husband … and I liked them too! I omitted the fruit, and added in more chocolate. Craving perhaps? Anyway, these are the chocolatiest oatmeal cookies I have ever tasted … almost like an oatmeal-spiked brownie.

chocolate explosion oatmeal cookie

I made a few adjustments to the recipe including an ingredient swap or two, but stayed true to the concept. Here is my modified version …

 

Chocolate Explosion Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, and Soy-Free.

  • 2 Cups Quick Oats (not instant)
  • 1-2/3 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 2/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1-1/2 Cups Sugar (I have to admit, plain white sugar (organic if you can) is a standout in chocolate cookies and brownies, but if you want a wholesome alternative, feel free to experiment here with evaporated cane juice or granulated palm sugar)
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseed
  • 2/3 Cup Unsweetened Milk Alternative (I used coconut milk beverage)
  • 2/3 Cup Olive Oil (extra-light or regular)
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips (I used the mini-chips from Enjoy Life Foods)

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the oats, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flax, milk alternative, oil, and vanilla. Stir or mix until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop the batter by the heaping spoonful (a couple tablespoons) onto your baking sheets (I lined mine with a silpat). Shape and flatten the cookies slightly, they only spread a wee bit.

Cook for 10 minutes, or until the tops are no longer shiny. I prefer them a little soft in the middle, and 10 minutes seemed to be spot on for this.

Yields 12-16 brownie-like pillows

choc explosion oat cookies