I believe that in a previous life I must have been Elvis Presley. Not because I have a soft spot for glittery ensembles or greasy hair, but because I absolutely LOVE peanut butter and I LOVE experimenting with it. Elvis got the whole American nation eating his creation of peanut butter and banana sandwiches and just like the King, I use peanut butter in a rather unconventional way.
Americans go nuts over peanut butter (pun fully intended): they consume a hallucinating 65 million pounds of peanut butter per month, and I see it is as my mission to get people on this side of the Atlantic hooked on the lovely spread as well!
Some people are allergic to it, others curse it because it is ridiculously high in calories. And although the calorie count can indeed be off the charts, peanut butter should be praised and adored, not viewed with horror. Forget the high fat percentage for a moment and let’s focus on all its positive features:
1) It’s rich in protein!
2) It’s cheap, which is always a bonus given the state of today’s economy!
3) It’s incredibly versatile!
There is more to peanut butter than just peanut butter sandwiches. It makes the most delicious desserts- from peanut butter cookies to crunchy peanut butter brownies- but it is also delicious in savory dishes, like the world famous chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce. If you really want to create the most delicious dishes imaginable, however, you need to push your culinary boundaries and experiment!
Why not try an Indonesian cucumber salad with fresh coconut shavings and a peanut butter dressing? (It is truly to die for and the addition of cucumber makes it sound healthier.) And for those who like African cuisine, I highly recommend a spicy sweet potato, banana and peanut butter stew. (The perfect comfort food on a cold September evening!)
To conclude, adding peanut butter to a recipe, turns a great dish into something magical.
So if I still haven’t convinced you, try out this recipe from the Queen of Comfort Food, Nigella Lawson. (Recipe from her book “Kitchen”) I’m sure you won’t be able to resist a second portion of this scrumptious palate-cleaving dessert from heaven!
So what are you waiting for? Run to your nearest supermarket, stock up on peanut butter jars and maybe hide a jar or two as a secret stash under your mattress in case you might get hungry at night.
Don’t say I haven’t warned you!
Chocolate peanut butter cheesecake:
For the base:
- 200 grams Digestive biscuits
- 50 grams salted peanuts
- 100 grams Dark chocolate chips
- 50 grams unsalted butter soft
For the filling:
- 500 grams cream cheese
- 3 medium eggs
- 3 medium Egg yolks
- 200 grams caster sugar
- 125 ml sour cream
- 250 grams smooth peanut butter
For the topping:
- 250 ml sour cream
- 100 grams Milk chocolate chips
- 30 grams soft light brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.
- Then process the biscuits, peanuts, dark chocolate chips and butter for the base in a food processor.
- Once it comes together in a clump, turn it out into a springform tin and press into the bottom and up the sides to make the crunchy crust.
- Put in the fridge while you make the filling.
- Process the filling in the cleaned or wiped-out processor bowl, putting in the cream cheese, eggs and egg yolks, sugar, sour cream and peanut butter and whizzing to a smooth mixture.
- Pour and scrape the filling into the base in the chilled springform tin and cook for 1 hour, though check after 50 minutes. The top – only – should feel set and dry.
- Take the cheesecake out of the oven while you make the topping.
- Warm the sour cream and chocolate with the brown sugar gently in a small saucepan over a low heat, whisking to blend in the chocolate as it melts, and then take off the heat.
- Spoon and spread the topping very gently over the top of the cheesecake, being as careful as you can in case you break the surface of the cheesecake. (not that anything bad will happen; you’ll just have chocolate marbling the cake a bit.)
- Put it back in the oven for a final 10 minutes.
- Once out of the oven, let the cheesecake cool in its tin and then cover and put into the fridge overnight.
- When you are ready to eat the cheesecake, take it out of the fridge, just to take the chill off: this will make it easier to spring from the tin. don’t let it get too warm, though, as it will become a bit gooey and be hard to slice.