In Praise of Peanut Butter: Happy Peanut Butter Month!

by Irene Falvey

Ahh, peanut butter- now here is something I can talk about. It never occurred to me that I would have the privilege to write about peanut butter. I possess an unwaveringly fond relationship to peanut butter; time and mass consumption have not made it slacken in my favour.

I am currently living in a country where peanut butter isn’t really a thing. It is ridiculous- I don’t hate them for it; I merely just pity that they don’t know the joy that I do. One very exciting day I found and bought a jar of peanut butter here- within two days it was gone -an impressive level of peanut butter consumption by all accounts. I think that some sort of taste to memory trigger occurred and while eating peanut butter I felt comforted. While I’m not even American, peanut butter for me had become home.

Let’s talk types of peanut butter

I will have to confess to dabbling in the dark arts of other nut butters- almond, cashew- especially cashew, it’s amazing. However, any brand of crunchy peanut butter still wins for me. It is the Queen of nut butters and it will have a never-ending reign in my culinary heart.

To a certain degree, I would almost feel that peanut butter can’t just exist as a mere ingredient in a recipe. If you take flour, sugar and raw eggs- they are pretty inedible on their own but together they make the beautiful thing that is a cake. Peanut butter, however, is a miracle in every mouthful in its own right. However, there is one particular creation that does come to mind and that I feel needs to be shared. And it begins with a story from my past.

Roughly seven years ago, when my friends and I had nothing better to do and no money to our names – our social life really just consisted of going to each other’s houses. These visits would be centred heavily on whatever sugar rush we could be promised. Maybe it was even ever so slightly competitive? Like a very weird young version of a Stepford wives kind of situation?

Anyway, let’s leave that reflection behind- one night we ended up in my house and for whatever reason, my household’s sugar game was really failing that night. All that I had to offer was biscuits; and not a shiny fresh new packet from Marks and Spencer’s- but rather the dregs of Aldi’s own brand- and not even chocolate ones. Amongst the thorns, we found some shortbread- yes a stable sturdy biscuit but slightly above its counterparts in taste and enjoyment. The biscuits were fine but not exciting. Simply put- they needed improvement. And what improves EVERYTHING? You guessed it- the Queen- peanut butter. We married the two together and both components were elevated to their maximum abilities. Please enjoy my greatest stroke of genius to date in life.


(Shortbread recipe is abbreviated from the shortbread layer of Sam Stern’s
Millionaire Shortbread)
Shortbread Ingredients:
350 g Plain Flour
100g caster sugar
225g very soft unsalted butter
4 drops of natural vanilla extract or lemon/orange juice.
You will also need:


1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas mark4. Lightly grease a baking tray.

2. Sift the flour and caster sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into bits and add to the bowl along with the vanilla extract/juice.

3. Rub together in your fingers until the mixture looks like fine sand. Pull shortbread into a smooth ball. This may require some patience.

4. Sprinkle a little plain flour and caster sugar onto a wooden board. Place the shortbread mix onto the middle of the board. Roll into a rectangle roughly the size of your tin. It should be a half inch thick.

5. Transfer carefully to the tin. You can remold it in the tin if it breaks up. Aim to make sure that the mixture is even and that it reaches all the corners of the tin.

6. Bake for 20-30 minutes. When cooked the biscuits should have a pale tan colour. Start checking at 15 minutes. When cooked, leave in the tin on a wire rack to cool. When they are cooled completely, cut into whatever shape you fancy.

7. Now the exciting part- spread extremely generously with peanut butter. Best served with tea and probably more peanut butter.

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