For too long has Peanut Butter been taken for granted. American TV shows would be incomplete without its mention –especially when coupled with jelly (which is their name for jam!) Even Homer Simpson recommends it as a cleaning product when he uses it to get bubble gum out of Lisa’s hair! It even has a national recognition day in United States (24th Although a firm family favourite in Australia for decades, it has now become newly fashionable –there is even a peanut butter martini served in some bars.
History tells us that peanut butter was introduced to retail to give the upper classes a form of protein that they would not have to chew! Peanut Butter is also high in protein and unsaturated fats as well as antioxidant p-coumaric acid. Before its debut in stores the history of peanut butter can be traced back to the Aztecs who crushed peanuts into a thick paste. Other countries too have picked up on the obsession. In Haiti where it is called mamba it can be bought freshly crushed on street corners. It is popular in the Netherlands where it is called pindakaas (peanut cheese). However, despite this name, peanuts are neither cheese nor nuts but legumes.
Over its life, however, peanut butter has had its share of controversy with lively debate over the merits of the crunchy and smooth blends. More recently there has been a more strident “Peanut Free Schools” movement – a reaction to the growth in peanut allergies. Nut free rules also took its toll on Nutella –Peanut Butter’s rival made by Ferrero (yes the hazelnut goo inside a Ferrero Rocher is in fact Nutella!)
In Australia, cookbook writers like Donna Hay have been leading the way; international food stars Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Gordon Ramsay have all created peanut butter recipes. This is the recognition Vegemite got in Men at Work’s song “Down-under” that “PB” has been waiting for. So to celebrate this old friend, here is the recipe that got me through high school. This homely snack is designed to get you in a good mood, it is truly the best pick-me-up. It is called Chewy Peanut Butter Slice but I like to think of it as a Peanut Butter Brownie without the chocolate!
Recipe courtesy of: http://allrecipes.com.au/recipe/16920/chewy-peanut-butter-slice.aspx
What you need:
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (I use crunchy but smooth works just as well)
- 185g unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup (155g) white sugar
- 1/2 cup (90g) brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 cup (125g) plain flour 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
What to do:
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Grease a 22x22cm cake tin.
- In a medium bowl cream together peanut butter and butter.
- Gradually blend in the brown sugar, white sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix until fluffy.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt then stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top springs back when touched.
- Cool and cut into squares.