Category Archives: peanut butter

Peanut Butter Bars


Who doesn’t love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter? I know I certainly do so when the craving strikes these bars from Add A Pinch are the perfect treat. These taste like a homemade Reese Peanut Butter Cup only better. They are also ridiculously easy; so easy that it is almost embarrassing. There is even no need to turn on the oven so technically you aren’t even baking. But they are so good that you too will find yourself making them again and again.


For the crust:
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1½ cups creamy peanut butter

For the topping:
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups chocolate chips

  • Combine the ingredients for the crust in a large mixing bowl mixing until well-combined and smooth.
  • Spread evenly into a 9×13 baking dish making sure to push the crust into the corners of the dish.
  • Place the remaining peanut butter and the chocolate chips in a microwave proof bowl.
  • Melt in the microwave for 1 minute at a time on 80% power. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth.
  • Spread the chocolate mixture over the top of the peanut butter bar base and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the freezer and cut into individual bars.

Yields 36 bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies


Whoopie pies were a childhood staple growing up in Maine. These sandwich cookies were essentially miniature chocolate cakes filled with gooey marshmallow filling. You could make them at home as my best friend’s mother did but my favorite were the ones sold on the counters of neighborhood general stores. This was back in the days before 7-11s and Cumberland Farms (a very Maine store)  took the place of small family run general stores. The best whoopie pies were always locally made, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and stacked high by the cash register waiting to be bought with a hard earned quarter. (I’m dating myself here).

Since I left Maine I have never been able to find a whoopie pie that tastes quite as good as those from my childhood. This recipe, adapted from Williams Sonoma, however, is a decidedly more sophisticated take on my childhood favorite. Gone is the overly sweet gooey filling and in its place is a creamy peanut butter one. The cookies are still soft but the addition of espresso powder to the dark cocoa powder makes the flavors pop. Purists may argue that these aren’t whoopie pies but if that is the case I dare say they are even better than the original.

For the cookies:

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the peanut butter filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a large bowl using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat the butter until it is fluffy and pale yellow.
  • Add the sugar and beat until incorporated.
  • Add in the the eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a small bowl.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until blended.
  • Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm, about 2 hours.
  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • With dampened hands, shape the dough into 3/4-inch balls and place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Using a spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup, press down on each ball to flatten it slightly.
  • Bake until the cookies are firm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, make the peanut butter filling: In a large bowl, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter and vanilla until blended and smooth.
  • Cover and refrigerate until the cookies are cool.
  • To assemble the cookies, spread the flat side of half of the cookies with 1 1/2 tsp. of the peanut butter filling.
  • Top with a second cookie, flat side down, pressing lightly to make a cookie sandwich, and serve.

Yields 36 whoopie pies


Peanut Butter-Chocolate Swirl Cookies

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I discovered these cookies as a part of William-Sonoma‘s “Cookie of the Day” blog during the Christmas season, but they are good any time of the year.  These cookies remind me of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is the perfect accompaniment for a glass of milk.  It takes a bit of practice to get the chocolate and peanut butter swirl just right but once you do, the cookies make for a pretty presentation.  I love them warm and fresh out of the oven.  Because you bake the dough when it is frozen, you can easily keep a roll in the freezer and slice off a few cookies when you need (or want) them.



1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat all but 1 tablespoon of the butter and the sugar on medium-high speed until lightened.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  • Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl then carefully stir into the peanut butter mixture.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan filled with an inch of water, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter with the chocolate chips over a very low heat.  Stir until smooth then let cool slightly.
  • Divide the dough into 2 balls.  Place 1 dough ball on a large piece of floured parchment paper.  Flour the top of the dough, place another piece of parchment over the ball and roll into a rectangle about 10 by 15 inches.  The dough should be about 1/8 of an inch thick.
  • Spread the rectangle with half of the melted chocolate, leaving a 1-inch border on the long side closest to you.
  • Starting with the long side farthest from you and using the parchment paper for assistance, carefully roll the dough towards you to form a tight log.
  • Place the log seam side down on the parchment paper twisting the ends to hold it tight.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough and chocolate.  Refrigerate or freeze until firm.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Unwrap the logs and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  • Space the cookies evenly on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
  • Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the pan before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yields:  6 dozen cookies

Coconut Chicken Chili

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This recipe from Better Homes and Gardens calls this dish a chili.  Die hard chili fans, however, will take an exception with this dish being called a chili.  The beans make it chili-like but the coconut milk and peanut butter and the fact it is served over rice make it more reminiscent of a Thai curry.  Regardless of what you call it, it is good and it is fast making it the perfect end of the week dinner.  Simply set the rice to cook when you start the chili and you are good to go.


12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small cubes

1 large onion, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

3 medium carrots, shredded

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 green onions, sliced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced

Rice for serving

  • Heat the oil in a large sauce pan until it shimmers.
  • Add the chicken, onion, chili powder, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper and cook over medium heat until the chicken is no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the coconut milk, peanut butter and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Add in the beans, carrots, celery, green onion, garlic, and chopped basil.  Return to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve over the rice.

Serves 4

Peanut Butter & Banana Snack Cake

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We’re in the midst of moving and as such, I’ve been cooking down the pantry in recent months.  This past weekend I realized just how successful I had been when I faced empty shelves with just a few random cans and jars remaining.  Never one to throw things out unnecessarily, I began to wonder what I could do with my last precious jar of peanut butter.  As luck would have it my all time favorite food blogger had posted a peanut butter based recipe just the day before.  The Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a.k.a. the Ninj had posted a recipe for a peanut butter and banana snack cake that sounded just my speed.  I even had two very ripe bananas on hand.  But because my pantry is bare and I am hesitant to go shopping, I altered the recipe to include items I had on hand.  I think my results are pretty darn tasty.  So if you love peanut butter, this is the cake for you!


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter

  • Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly coat an 8″ x 8″ square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another large bowl, slightly beat the eggs then add the banana, butter, milk, yogurt, and vanilla.  Stir well to combine.
  • Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until combined.
  • Fold in the peanut butter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool for a few minutes in the pan then carefully turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Serves 9

Spicy Peanut Noodles


It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

If you love peanut butter, you’ll be sure to love this dish.  Courtesy of The Moosewood Cookbook,  you can make tthe peanut sauce while the pasta is cooking making this a quick and easy dinner when paired with a salad.  I prefer to eat the noodles at room temperature — especially on hot summer evenings– but they are also good cold or even warmed.  I also like to make a double batch since the leftovers make a great packable lunch.


1 pound bucatini or other long pasta

1/2 cup organic peanut butter

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

2 tablespoons cilantro, minced

Cayenne pepper to taste

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside.
  • Heat the 1/2 cup water until boiling.
  • Place the peanut butter in a small bowl and add the water.  Carefully mix until well combined and smooth.
  • Add the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, cider vinegar, cilantro, and cayenne. Stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Add the peanut sauce to the reserved pasta adding a bit of water if needed to loosen the peanut butter.
  • For best flavor, serve at room temperature.

Serves 6

Chicken Satay With Spicy Peanut Sauce


This chicken satay is my go to dish whenever I am putting together a buffet table or am in need of an easy, yet satisfying appetizer.  They are just as good when they are served piping hot from the oven as they are at room temperature.  The peanut sauce brings these from nice to over the top.  The recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.  I’ve increased the amount of spices to add my personal touch and to satisfy my need for spice.  However, the amounts can easily be decreased if spicy food just isn’t your thing.  If you have the time you can place the chicken breasts in the freezer for up to 30 minutes before slicing the meat.  While not required, this will make the chicken easier to slice and make for a neater presentation.

I categorize this recipe as an appetizer and if served as such, the recipe will yield between 10 and 15 servings depending upon the size of your chicken breasts.  In the Brown household, however, we’ve been known to turn these skewers into a full-fledged dinner.  Just add rice and a green vegetable and you have a balanced meal.


For the chicken:

6 boneless chicken breasts

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup minced cilantro

3 tablespoons ketchup

4 garlic cloves, crushed and minced

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

4 scallions, thinly sliced

Wooden skewers

  • Slice the chicken into 1/4 inch pieces and weave the chicken onto each skewer.  Place the skewers in a large shallow dish or a large plastic Ziploc bag.
  • Combine all of the remaining ingredients in small bowl.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken making sure each skewer is covered with the marinade.  Place in the refrigerator and allow to marinade for 30-60  minutes.
  • Place an oven rack as close to the upper heating element as possible.  Set the oven to broil and allow to pre-heat.
  • Arrange the skewers on top of an oiled broiler pan.  (You may need to cook the skewers in batches).  Broil for 7-8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

For the spicy peanut sauce:

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1/4 cup hot water

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon minced cilantro

3 scallions, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Serve with the chicken satay.
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