peanut-butter.jpgWho doesn’t love peanut butter? Unless you suffer from a peanut allergy or you live with someone who does, peanut butter is probably a staple in your pantry. I’m a big fan, but I had no idea that January 24th is National Peanut Butter Day, and I didn’t realize that peanut butter has been around for as long as it has either.

The earliest peanut butter made an appearance way back in 1000 BC when the Aztecs made peanuts into a paste. Fast forward a few thousand years to the 20th century and peanut butter began its ascent into popularity when people like Dr.John Harvey Kellogg and Joseph Rosefield, the creator of Skippy, developed the recipe for the creamy peanut butter we know and love today.

It’s great on bread with jam or jelly, amazing on toast in the morning, and perfect in cookies, but there are a lot of other ways you can use peanut butter in dishes that you may never have thought of. Here are a few peanut butter recipes to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day any time you want.

 

Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

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I love, love, love Thai food, and if you’re like me and constantly searching for Pad Thai, this may be the recipe for you. The peanut butter/sriracha combo is nothing short of mind blowing. Photo and recipe from tasteofhome.com.

 

Ingredients:

 

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

4 teaspoons Sriracha Asian hot chili sauce

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

12 ounces uncooked multigrain spaghetti

1 pound lean ground chicken

1-1/2 cups julienned carrots

1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted peanuts

4 green onions, chopped

 

Directions

Whisk the first six ingredients until blended. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.

In a large skillet, cook chicken, carrots, pepper and garlic over medium heat for 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, breaking up chicken into crumbles; drain.

Stir in peanut butter mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 3-5 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve with spaghetti. Top with peanuts and green onions.

Slow cooker peanut sweet potato stew

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I like sweet potatoes, but the rest of my family aren’t big fans. Because they’re so good for you, I like to sneak them into recipes when I can. This sweet potato stew is the perfect way to get some sweet potatoes in their diet, and the crunch peanut butter gives it a lot of texture. Photo and recipe from myrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

6 small sweet potatoes, peeled, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch slices (about 2 lb.)

3 red onions, thinly sliced

1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes

5 sprigs plus 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

Directions

Stir together potatoes, onions, tomatoes, parsley sprigs, cumin, allspice, salt, pepper and 2 cups water in a slow cooker until thoroughly combined. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 hours on high. Discard parsley sprigs.

Just before serving stew, stir in chopped parsley and peanut butter. Serve hot in bowls.

Fudge Brownie Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Bars

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You wouldn’t really be celebrating National Peanut Butter Day without a peanut butter dessert, and these cookie bars fit the bill and then some. I found the recipe and photo on Sally’s Baking Addiction, and you can go there for other delicious peanut butter desserts too.

Ingredients:

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
  • 2 cups mini peanut butter cups (or 2 cups chopped peanut butter cups)

Brownie Layer

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate, such as Bakers brand
  • 1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Sally recommends making the brownie layer first, even though it will go on top: begin by melting the butter and semi-sweet chocolate in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly (about 6 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. While it’s cooling stir sugar into cooled chocolate/butter mixture until combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour and salt. Then, fold in the chocolate chips.

Make the cookie layer: in a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. On low speed, mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick and sticky. Using a rubber spatula sprayed with cooking spray (to reduce sticking), spread the cookie dough all over the prepared baking pan. The layer will be thin, but will puff up as it bakes. Top with peanut butter cups, then pour the brownie batter on top and smooth with a knife or rubber spatula.

Bake the bars for 35-45 minutes, or until the center no longer jiggles and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out relatively clean (a few brownie crumbs may remain).

Allow the bars to cool completely, at least 2 hours, before cutting into squares. Bars remain fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

I don’t know about you, but I’m off to buy an extra large jar of Skippy so I can make these recipes this weekend. If you’re ready to cook with peanut butter, you might need a few of these small kitchen appliances:

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Every kitchen needs a

great skillet

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Make pasta, stew, and

more in a stock pot

10293634.jpg Creating any kind of peanut butter treat is easy when you have Wilton pans

Main image from foodnavigator-usa.com