Bread and Rutter does Peanut Butter!

Was there ever a condiment as divisive as peanut butter?

Emma Rutter

Emma Rutter

“I can’t stand the stuff – it sticks to my tongue,” say some.

“I’m obsessed! The more, the better!” say others.

If you’re a member of the ‘love it!’ category, then you’ll love today’s column. If your loyalties lie more with the ‘no way!’ side of things… well, bear with me, and some of these recipe ideas might just change your mind.

Peanut butter is much more than just a spread. It’s a nutrient-packed, energy-filled food that makes it a powerful little addition to your kitchen cupboards. The high protein content and low salt and sugar content will keep you fuller for longer and help avoid the mid-afternoon sugar slumps. (There’s a reason you’ll see it featured on every fitness Instagram.)

“Peanut butter is much more than just a spread”

But how do you go about choosing the right brand? Head to Sainsbury’s and you’ll find yourself confronted with about six or seven different types of peanut butter – and that’s before we’ve even mentioned the smooth/crunchy varieties, let alone delved into almond butter territory.

It all depends what you want, really. The cheaper it is, the more additives it will contain. And sometimes, this is the most appealing – a nut butter with a bit of sweetness and tang. They tend to be more solid, too, and slightly less claggy. ‘Pure’ nut butters (such as Whole Earth and Meridan), which are 100% nuts, have a slightly different consistency... they’re harder to spread, but have a wholesome, earthy taste. Pip and Nut, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game. It’s expensive for what you get (read: a tiny pot that lasts about a week), and is runnier, separating in the jar. On the plus side, this means you can drizzle it rather than spreading it, which sometimes causes you to carve great chunks out of your toast when you run into a particularly stubborn bit of nut.

Here are three ways you might like to eat it.

1) As a snack. This barely needs any explanation, but I thought I’d ease us in with a few basic ideas. Rather than spooning it into your mouth straight from the jar (though there’s no judgement from me), try it on toast, on top of porridge or spread over a banana or an apple. The contrast between the soft, sweet fruit and the salty, sticky, peanut butter is one that, for me, is hard to beat - especially when accompanied by a mug of coffee.

2) Peanut stir-fry sauce. This is one that, I hope, for peanut-butter haters, will make you reconsider. For many people, it is the texture of peanut butter that puts them off – they don’t like the cloying nature of the spread and the way it clings to the spoon when you pull it out of the jar. When melted, it loses this stickiness and becomes more like a thickener, creating a creamy, dreamy, nutty sauce. My mum uses it to make a great chicken satay, but her recipe requires rather a lot of ingredients and a bit too much time. The solution, then, comes in the form of a stir-fry sauce, which you can put together in the same time that it takes to boil some rice or noodles and fry some vegetables.

Recipe: Peanut stir-fry sauce

2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp soy sauce, splash of lemon/lime juice, chilli flakes. Whisk together with a fork, and add hot water to make it into a runnier consistency. Drizzle over your stir-fry and add some crushed nuts for extra texture.

3) No-bake peanut butter bars. Have you got a busy week ahead? With what looks like very few regular mealtimes? These bars take literally five minutes to make and will quieten any rumbling hunger pangs on those days when you don’t know where or when you’ll find your next meal. They’re made of oats, peanut butter and honey – three simple, natural ingredients, which are pretty cheap as far as things go. You simply melt the peanut butter and honey together, then stir in the oats and press into some form of tin (I used a plastic sandwich box). The basic recipe is good on its own, but throw in some sultanas and top it with melted chocolate and it’ll be difficult not to eat the whole batch in one sitting.


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Recipe: No-bake peanut butter bars

Melt the peanut butter and honey together over a medium heat until smooth.

Stir in the oats until fully covered in the mixture. Add any dried fruit/seeds and stir in. You may also wish to add a teaspoon of coconut oil/margarine/butter/more peanut butter if it’s not sticking together very well.

Press the oats into a tin/box/other suitable receptacle and leave to cool. Pour over melted chocolate, if you want. Cut into squares when cold (this is important, because they’ll be quite crumbly!)