In kitchens, cafeterias and restaurants nationwide, our local food preferences may be unique, and our culinary traditions may be diverse, but we all share a common bond: a love for peanut butter.
In most homes, even if the refrigerator is bare and the meal fixin’s are slim, there’s always a jar of peanutty cream that can come to the rescue for any snack or meal of the day.
“While some parts of the country prefer their foods hot and spicy, others prefer savory or sweet. But no matter where you go, families love making peanuts or peanut butter a key ingredient in their favorite recipes, said Leslie Wagner, executive director of Southern Peanut Growers ( http://peanutbutterlovers.com/).
To celebrate the unique flavors from coast to coast, and to find the best hometown PB recipes, Southern Peanut Growers conducted its first “PB My Way” regional recipe contest.
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Peanut butter lovers nationwide submitted their recipes, from spicy stuffed peppers inspired by the Southwest to decadent chocolate bars in the Northeast. These are the top regional PB-powered recipes in our “United States of Peanut Butter.”
After-school peanut butter apple pie
Makes 8 servings
Prepared pie crust
7 apples, peeled cored and sliced
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
Chopped peanuts (optional, for garnish)
1. Place crust in 9-inch pie pan and crimp edges. Use dried beans to weigh down bottom. Bake crust 10-15 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.
2. Mix all filling ingredients together and put in crust. Using hands, mix crumble ingredients until in pea-sized pieces. Top apples with crumble. Don't worry if filling looks sky-high, the apples will cook down and the pie will be perfectly proportioned.
3. Bake at 350 degrees 40-50 minutes keeping the crust edges covered with foil until last 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped peanuts.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 426 calories, 17 grams fat, 66 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 16 milligrams cholesterol, 245 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 35 percent of calories from fat.
— Recipe contributed by winner Alisa L., Midwest region, http://peanutbutterlovers.com/
Pennsylvania PB & C bars
Makes 12 bars
1 cup melted butter
2 cups peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1 1/2 tubs chocolate frosting
1 cup peanut butter, melted
1 cup salted peanuts, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mix butter, peanut butter, sugars, salt, eggs and vanilla until well mixed. Add flour, baking powder and chopped peanuts and mix thoroughly. Spread on a 10-by-15-by-2-inch ungreased cookie sheet.
2. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
3. Spread frosting over crust. Drizzle melted peanut butter over chocolate. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top of peanut butter and chocolate. Let set until topping is firm.
4. You can refrigerate cookie sheet to speed firming process, if desired. Cut into desired-size bars.
Nutritional analysis per bar: 1,025 calories, 63 grams fat, 99 grams carbohydrates, 27 grams protein, 130 milligrams cholesterol, 711 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber, 53 percent of calories from fat.
— Recipe contributed by winner Victoria Z., Northeast region, http://peanutbutterlovers.com/
Nutty jalapeño-chicken stuffed peppers
Makes 12 peppers
12 large jalapeño peppers, split open (not all the way through) and seeded
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 3-ounce package cooked bacon pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup crushed cornflakes
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peppers in medium bowl and cover with boiling water 2 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
2. In medium bowl, mix together peanut butter, chicken, bacon and cheese. Fill each jalapeño with mixture. Smear each pepper with a little mayonnaise and roll in cornflakes in shallow dish to cover.
3. Place jalapeño on nonstick baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 15-20 minutes.
Nutritional analysis per pepper: 198 calories, 15 grams fat, 9 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 18 milligrams cholesterol, 303 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 64 percent of calories from fat.
— Recipe contributed by winner Lori M., Southwest region, http://peanutbutterlovers.com/
Carolina dreaming appetizer meatballs
Makes 24 meatballs
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup fig preserves
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
4 green onions, finely chopped (including green tops)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
Diced green onion tops or chopped parsley (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together peanut butter, preserves, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice until well blended. Add ginger, black and red pepper, mixing well. Reserve.
2. Place approximately half peanut butter mixture into mixing bowl (reserve remainder for later). Add turkey, green onions, parsley, egg and salt to mixing bowl and mix lightly but thoroughly.
3. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on lightly greased, rimmed baking sheet.
4. Place into oven and bake 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and brush tops of meatballs with remaining peanut butter mixture.
5. Return pan to oven and bake 5-8 minutes more, or until nicely browned.
6. Remove from oven. Arrange on serving plate and sprinkle with diced green onion tops or parsley, if desired.
Note: Use with decorative toothpicks placed in each meatball for easy consumption.
Nutritional analysis per meatball: 85 calories, 5 grams fat, 4 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 28 milligrams cholesterol, 153 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 53 percent of calories from fat.
— Recipe contributed by winner Janice E., Southeast region, http://peanutbutterlovers.com/
Easy PB & J breakfast tarts
Makes 8 tarts
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup shortening
6 tablespoons peanut butter plus 4 heaping teaspoons for filling (1/2 teaspoon per tart)
1/2 cup cold water
5 tablespoons jam (strawberry works well)
Drizzle option 1:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon jam
1 tablespoon milk
Drizzle option 2:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon strawberry extract, optional
1 tablespoon milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl mix together flours, sugar and sea salt.
2. Using pastry cutter, cut-in shortening and peanut butter, until mixture resembles small peas. Drizzle mixture with cold water until mixture is moist and holds together. Roll out on floured surface to at least 1/16th of an inch thickness.
3. Using a 3-by-5-inch index (recipe) card for a template, cut into sixteen 3-by-5-inch shapes. Re-rolling works fine. In middle of eight shapes, smear 1/2 heaping teaspoon peanut butter and heaping teaspoon of jam on top. Be careful not to go to edges. Using fingers, wet edges with water and place another piece of pastry on top. Press all sides well, and using fork press all edges to secure. Using fork, gently poke tops in four places so steam can escape.
4. Place inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 13-14 minutes until starting to brown around edges. Cool on rack.
5. Whisk together drizzle of choice in small bowl. Drizzle over cooled tarts.
Note: This pastry is very user-friendly and delicate. Freeze tarts up to one month and defrost at room temperature before serving.
Nutritional analysis per tart, without drizzle options: 446 calories, 25 grams fat, 50 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, no cholesterol, 310 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 49 percent of calories from fat.
Nutritional analysis per tart, with drizzle option 1: 483 calories, 25 grams fat, 59 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, trace cholesterol, 312 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 46 percent of calories from fat.
Nutritional analysis per tart, with drizzle option 2: 478 calories, 25 grams fat, 58 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, trace cholesterol, 311 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 46 percent of calories from fat.
— Recipe contributed by winner Susan M., West region, http://peanutbutterlovers.com/