In Defense of Peanut Butter

20 Oct

Via Chomp & Chew from The Independent Florida Alligator

Photo Courtesy of Kitchen Simplicity


In Defense of Peanut Butter.. 

Creamy or chunky? You might need to put a bit more thought into your sandwich-spread alliance this season. Peanut butter prices are on the rise due to crop shortages that left farmers paying almost double for their peanuts.

In fact, The Wall Street Journal estimates that this year’s shortage will cause a 30 percent increase in price per jar. A PB&J might have become a lot less affordable, but the gooey butter is still a prize to defend.

In cooking and especially baking, peanut butter often commands my frontline of favored ingredients. The thick and filling creaminess can camouflage within both sweet and savory dishes flawlessly. Sometimes the flavor mounts an offensive attack by swarming taste-buds with stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth satisfaction. Other times, it might lurk guerilla style in the background of a dish only hinting of its subtly salty presence.

Now is no time to deprive ourselves of the sticky, roasted pleasures of peanut butter! The plan of attack is simple — use peanut butter in an interesting way because it is a worthwhile ingredient. Below is a recipe for some decedent chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies that will surely win you over. The never-ending battle of creamy vs. chunky wages on, so choose a side, and get to baking!

Chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies
Adapted From: Martha Stewart

For cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For filling:
2/3 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

For cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Add butter, sugars and cream on high speed until smooth.
4. Add egg, and beat until fluffy.
5. In another small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla.
6. Add half the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until combined.
7. Add the remaining flour mixture. Beat together.
8. Drop 12 slightly rounded tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart on each baking sheet.
9. Bake the cookies until they are springy to the touch, about 12-14 minutes.
10. Remove from oven. Let cookies cool on baking sheet, 10 minutes.
11. Transfer with a metal spatula to a wire rack. Let cool completely.
12. Repeat with remaining batter.

For filling:

1. In a medium bowl, cream peanut butter and butter together. Slowly add sugar until well combined and then beat on high until fluffy.
2. Spread a generous amount of butter cream on flat side of half of one cookie. Top each with one of the remaining cookies, and gently press together forming a sandwich.

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