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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Celebrate National Peanut Butter Month

By Sherrie Norris

As National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month, March salutes America’s favorite sandwich spread. What kid didn’t grow up loving a PBJ? It’s been a staple in most homes for generations.

However, it seems there has been a rise in peanut allergies in recent years, and I am learning that many schools are prohibiting peanut butter in any form to prevent those with the allergy from coming in contact with it.

But, as in most cases, there are alternatives, with other numerous nut butters on the market today. Most may be interchanged in recipes, so that’s a good thing.

Consumer reports indicate that smooth peanut butter is “by far” the most popular, but many of us prefer crunchy. 

To be “officially” considered peanut butter, a product labeled as such must contain least 90 percent of peanuts. 

Beyond the time-honored sandwich, the gooey spread is also popular on crackers and celery, in cookies, candies and many other desserts.

The “history of peanut butter” indicates that a St. Louis physician might have actually invented an early version of it in 1890 when he developed a packaged “paste” for people with bad teeth.

Five years later, the innovative Kellogg brothers patented the process of preparing peanut butter with steamed nuts; in 1922, however, it was Joseph L. Rosefield who, after churning it to make it smoother, received the first patent for peanut butter that could stay fresh up to a year.

In 1928, one of the first companies to adopt Rosefield’s process was Swift & Company, later renamed Peter Pan. 

Four years later, Rosefield began producing peanut butter under the Skippy label, and two years later, created the first crunchy-style peanut butter. 

Enter Procter & Gamble in 1955, which introduced Jif in 1958. Now owned by the J.M. Smucker Company, Jif operates the world’s largest peanut butter plant, producing more than 250,000 jars every day.


Peanut Butter Squares

½ cup butter, cubed

½ cup creamy peanut butter

1 ½ cups sugar

1cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and peanut butter; stir until smooth. Combine sugar and flour; gradually add to butter mixture and mix well. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Spread into a greased 13 x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes, or until lightly browned and edges start to pull away from sides of pan. Cool on a wire rack. 

Note: Reduced-fat peanut butter is not recommended.


No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment.

Bring sugar, milk, butter and cocoa to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add oats, peanut butter, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine.

Drop the mixture by spoonful onto the prepared baking sheet; let set at room temperature until cooled and hardened, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days


Easy Peanut Butter Cake  

¾ cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup peanut butter

2¼ cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

1½ cup milk

Cream butter with brown sugar; blend in white sugar; add eggs, vanilla and peanut butter; mix well. Add flour, sifted with baking powder, soda and salt. Alternately mix small portions of creamed mixture, flour mixture and milk. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes


½ cup butter

1cup brown sugar

¼ cup milk

2 cups powdered sugar

¾ cups peanut butter

Mix well; cover cooled cake. Use a little more milk if too stiff; a little more powdered sugar if too thin.


Super Quick Microwavable Peanut Butter Fudge

 (16 oz.) can vanilla frosting

1 (18 oz. ) jar peanut butter

Empty entire jar of peanut butter in a mixing bowl. Heat vanilla frosting in its container (make sure you pull off all the foil lining) in microwave for about 60 seconds or until completely melted.

Pour the melted frosting in the bowl with the peanut butter and mix well. 

Quickly pour the mixture into a buttered  9×13 pan, allow fudge to set, cut into small squares, and enjoy. 

(May need to refrigerate for more solid form.)


Easy Homemade Peanut Butter 

1½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts

1 Tbsp. peanut oil

For smooth peanut butter:

Mix peanuts with peanut oil; pour mixture into food processor;

process until very smooth. Store finished product in a sealed container in the fridge for about two weeks. 

For chunky peanut butter:

Take about ¼ cup out of your 1½ cups of peanuts and set aside. 

Mix remainder of peanuts with oil; pour mixture into food processor. Process mixture until very smooth, then stir in the peanuts that you set aside. Process a few seconds more to create the chunks.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.