Cooking

Powerful Peanuts and Nut Butter Substitutes

June 12, 2013

peanut butterPlease note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.

When I was pregnant the only real craving I had was for peanut butter. I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch every day for over 4 months as well as peanut noodles 2 or 3 times a week. Peanut butter cups showed up on the menu at least 2 times a week and the fact that I didn’t gain an additional 30 pounds is nothing short of a miracle. For some, the cravings disappear as soon as the baby is born. For me, well, let’s just say that my love affair with peanut butter is still going strong.

Peanut butter is truly one of America’s favorite foods. There are even websites like peanutbutterlovers.com devoted solely to the joys and deliciousness of the sticky gooey goodness. You’ll find the ubiquitous smooth and crunchy spread in about 75% of American homes. It’s nutritious, inexpensive and the kind of ingredient that makes the transition from sweet to savory very easily.

Because of allergies any form of peanut and/or peanut butter is not an option for some people. If it’s a specific peanut allergy try making “butters” out of different kinds of nuts like Almond, Hazelnut, Cashew, Macadamia, Pecan or Pistachio.  You just place the nut of choice in a food processor blender and process until they form a smooth paste. You can purchase different types of nut butters at the grocery store and specialty shops but for the freshest and most amazing taste, make your own.

If it’s a “can’t eat any kind of nut” allergy I’m going to suggest that you try a spread like SunButter (made from sunflower seeds) which is available online and can be substituted in place of peanut butter in almost any recipe.

The following recipes are all nut butter centric and are guaranteed to make even the savviest gourmet swoon.

You can substitute different nut buttersin any or the following recipes:

CRUNCHY PEANUT BROCCOLI (pareve)

1/4 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

2 tablespoons hot water

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons oil

3 cups fresh broccoli florets

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

In a large serving bowl combine the peanut butter, hot water, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Whisk to blend and set aside. In a skillet heat the 2 tablespoons of oil and add the broccoli, red pepper, green onions and garlic. Cook, stirring for 4 to 5 minutes, just until the vegetables are starting to cook but are still crisp.  Spoon the vegetables into the serving bowl with the sauce and mix to coat. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts on top. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6

My file source unknown

ALMOND BUTTER PANCAKES (dairy or pareve)

11/4 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk (or non dairy substitute)

1 egg

1/4 cup almond butter

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl combine the milk with egg and almond butter and whisk until smooth. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Lightly grease a hot griddle. Spoon approx. 1/4 cup of the batter onto griddle. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown on each side. Serves 4.

CHOCOLATE MAPLE ALMOND CUP (dairy or pareve)

1lb bag semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

1/2 to 3/4 cup almond butter

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Sea salt

1/4 cup chopped almonds

Place paper liners in a muffin pan and set it aside.  In a microwave bowl melt the chocolate until it’s smooth. Spoon approx 1 1/2 tablespoons of the melted chocolate into the bottom of each liner.  Spoon 3/4 to 1 tablespoon of the almond butter on top of the chocolate in the cup. Top with approx 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted chocolate and then sprinkle the top with a pinch of the sea salt. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.  You can refrigerate up to 2 weeks and freeze up to a month. Makes 12

GREEN BEANS IN MAPLE PECAN BUTTER (pareve)

2 1/2 pounds French green beans, trimmed

4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon oil

1/2 cup (2 ounces) pecan halves

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature

1/4 cup (2 ounces) maple syrup

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using large slotted spoon, transfer beans to colander set in bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, and then drain well. Return water to boil and repeat with remaining beans.

In small heavy skillet over moderate heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil until hot but not smoking. Add pecans and toast, stirring constantly, until light brown and fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, whip butter until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add maple syrup and pecans, stirring by hand to incorporate. Set aside.

In 10-inch skillet over moderately high heat, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil until hot but not smoking. Add half green beans and sauté until hot, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and repeat with remaining beans and oil. Add maple-pecan butter and toss to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Modified from Epicurious.com

COCOA ALMOND BUTTER TRUFFLES (pareve)

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup finely chopped pitted dates

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided

1/2 cup almond butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Pinch ground nutmeg

Pinch ground cinnamon

Place oats in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add dates, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, almond butter, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon and process until finely ground and sticking together. Place remaining cocoa powder in a shallow bowl. Roll truffle mixture into balls about 2 teaspoons each, pressing firmly for mixture to stick together. Roll truffles in cocoa powder and chill until ready to serve.

Submitted by Roger Monsen Newark NJ Modified from wholefoods.com

© Eileen Goltz nut butter 13a