It’s National Peanut Butter Day


Katrin Gilger, Wikimedia Commons

Celebrate one of our many national food days with peanut butter cookies. Eat them as is, or fill them.

Looking ahead, I see that January 24 is Peanut Butter Day. This may sound a bit odd, but I am not all that gaga over peanut butter. I don’t hate it and I am not allergic to it, but it just was never a favorite.


I do realize that most people like it a great deal, so I decided to go with this subject for their benefit. I hope any peanut butter fans out there in Reader Land find something they’d like to try.


Oh, before I get to the recipes, I must share a little story that involves peanut butter.


My oldest son, when he was very little, had a pet hen that followed him everywhere in the yard (he tried to bring her in the house, but I wasn’t happy about that plan).


One day I gave him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and he went outside to eat it on the porch steps. Miss hen, named Chickie, hopped right up there and was watching closely. She stretched out her neck and grabbed a big bite of that sandwich.


Watching a chicken try to eat peanut butter was hilarious, although at first, I was afraid something would happen to her. She was fine, but she sure looked funny acting like she was trying to chew it. Now we can get to those recipes.


As usual, stay safe and stay warm as we move along through winter.


Peanut butter sandwich cookies


1 cup butter-flavored shortening


1 cup creamy peanut butter


1 cup sugar


1 cup packed brown sugar


3 large eggs


1 teaspoon vanilla


3 cups flour


2 teaspoons baking soda


1/4 teaspoon salt


Filling:


1/2 cup creamy peanut butter


3 cups confectioners’ sugar (see note)


1 teaspoon vanilla


5 to 6 tablespoons


Note: A lot of people say they find 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar too sweet, and are happy with just 2.


1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.


2. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 3/8-inch thickness with a fork. Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.


3. For filling: in a large bowl, beat the peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread on half of the cookies and top each with another cookie. Makes about 44 cookies.


Peanuts and chips clusters


2 cups peanut butter chips


1 cup milk chocolate chips


1 1/2 cups dry-roasted peanuts


1 cup crushed ridged potato chips (such as Ruffles)


1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt peanut butter chips and chocolate chips; stir until smooth.


2. Stir in peanuts and potato chips. Drop by level tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper-lined baking sheets.


3. Refrigerate until firm. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.


Peanut butter pretzel bites


1 package (14-oz.) caramels


1/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes


2 tablespoons water


5 cups miniature pretzels


26 ounces milk chocolate candy coating, melted


1. In a microwave, melt caramels with butter and water; stir until smooth. Spread one side of each pretzel with 1 teaspoon peanut butter; top with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until set.


2. Using a small fork, dip each pretzel into melted chocolate coating until completely covered; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Makes 8 1/2 dozen.


Chicken satay with peanut sauce


1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks


1/4 cup coconut milk


2 teaspoons fish sauce


2 teaspoons soy sauce


2 teaspoons red curry paste


2 teaspoons curry powder


1/2 teaspoon sugar


1 tablespoon lime juice


2 tablespoons vegetable oil


For peanut sauce:


1/3 cup creamy peanut butter


2 to 3 tablespoons hot water


1 tablespoon lime juice


1 clove garlic, minced


1 teaspoon ginger root, minced or grated


1 teaspoon soy sauce


1 teaspoon fish sauce


1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


1. If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least an hour, as this prevents them from burning. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes with coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, red curry paste, curry powder, sugar and lime juice. You can also let it marinate overnight.


2. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce by combining the peanut butter, hot water, lime juice, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil. If you want it saltier, you can add more soy sauce or fish sauce. Skewer the chicken (4 to 7 pieces of chicken per skewer depending on the size).


3. Cook the skewers on a grill, or in a skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Make sure to preheat the skillet first, then when adding the chicken, turn down heat to medium or medium-low if it is browning too fast. Cook the chicken evenly for about 10 to 12 minutes, turning it until golden on all sides. Serve with the peanut sauce. Makes 6 servings.

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