Ode to Peanut Butter

As much as I adore sweet treats, if it ever came down to choosing between sweet and salty without hesitation I would opt for the latter. But why choose when you can have both! The classic combination of sweet and salty is addictive. There’s just something about getting a sudden bite of salty in the middle of a mouthful of sweet that keeps you coming back for more. It’s like having the best of both worlds, and I for one adore the concept.

So when I saw a recipe for Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies on the how2heroes site, I immediately strode into my kitchen and whipped up a batch.

The recipe was simple to prepare, and my four-year old had a blast helping me bust up the pretzel sticks into little itty bitty pieces for the cookie batter.

We blistered our tongues eating the cookies straight out of the oven, unable to wait until they cooled.

So how did they taste?

Wow. Goodness gracious. Oh my.

I have always loved peanut butter cookies, but combined with the added crunch from the pretzels and the sprinkle of kosher salt on top this cookie breathed new life into a beloved classic. Because unsalted butter is used for the cookie batter, the added saltiness from the pretzels and kosher salt topper was not overwhelming. Sweet and salty worked together in harmony, with the sugary dough producing a wonderfully caramelized cookie that was crisp on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. (NOTE: the recipe calls for a generous dose of salt but I found a light sprinkle was more than enough)

Most sources credit a 1923 edition of Pillsbury’s Balanced Recipes cookbook as the first known written occurrence of peanut butter being used as an ingredient in cookies, although peanuts themselves have been used for centuries in cooking. African cuisine began incorporating peanuts into stews back in the 15th century, while crushed peanuts have been used in Chinese cooking for centuries primarily as a means of making creamy sauces, and even Civil War soldiers used to dine on ‘peanut porridge’.

However peanut butter as we know it today was believed to have been introduced in 1890, after a physician from St. Louis asked the owner of a food products company to start producing ground peanut paste as a means of providing a healthy source of protein for people with poor teeth unable to chew meat.

Here are some interesting facts about peanuts found on the PeanutButterLovers website:

  • Peanuts are not actually nuts at all! They are legumes, like beans, peas and lentils.
  • Americans eat 3 lbs of peanut butter per person every year. That’s about 700 million pounds, or enough to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon!
  • Peanuts may be a favourite food, but we’ve found many uses for their shells too! You might find peanut shells in kitty litter, wallboard, fireplace logs, paper, animal feed and sometimes as fuel for power plants!
  • Two peanut farmers have been elected President of the United States: Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
  • One acre of peanuts will make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
  • January 24 is National Peanut Butter Day in the United States

Click here for the recipe for Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies