Peanut Butter Biscuits

April 26, 2008

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“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]  

Well, it’s been pretty hectic over here in the DDD household. For the past couple of days, I’ve been slogging away at course prep for a course that deals with diaries and personal journals.  (Did you know, for instance, that  the first online diary, or weblog –today known simply as “blog”–was begun in 1994?  Or that psychiatrists and psychologists often ask their patients to use free association or stream-of-consciousness in journals as a way to dredge up old, repressed conflicts or neuroses?)  Okay–enough work for now!  Time for a snack break. 

Ah, but what to eat?  Hmmm. . . .well, funny, but peanut butter popped into my head. Oh, yeah, baby–peanut butter!  I love it.  It’s creamy, it’s delicious, it’s full of–well, nuts. (Oh.  Hmmm. Is that a bad thing, that I just said “nuts”?  Really, I didn’t mean anything by it. . .sometimes, you know, a peanut is just a peanut.).  Peanut butter was one of my favorite foods in childhood.  (Not that I’m trying to re-live my childhood, or anything.) Of course, nowadays, peanut butter is quite often troublesome, potentially deadly, even–all those peanut allergies and sensitivities. . . which is quite sad, actually. All because we were fed too much of it when we were kids. And now we’re paying for it! Where’s the justice in that? I mean, HOW COULD MY MOTHER DO THAT TO ME? Oh, yes, it’s becoming all too clear: It’s all my mother’s fault!  I may never get over it. . . I think I’m getting a complex. . .   

Well, any Freudian issues aside, I must admit that I do remain a bit conflicted about the stuff.  Although I so enjoy the flavor of it, there’s really nothing elegant about peanut butter (on its own, anyway). For many of us, it’s simply a quick, cheap, and easy base for a meal, something we rely on when either time or funds are scarce; and it’s one of the first foods we eschew as soon as we can afford anything better.  And of course there’s the allergy thing, too.

Perhaps worse, peanuts sometimes harbor potentially deadly toxins. As you probably know, the peanut is actually a legume, not a nut; and its shell, being somewhat soft and porous, functions as a perfect hiding place for a variety of molds, foremost among them something called aflatoxin.  When I first read about this particularly virulent fungus and its affinity for peanuts, I stopped eating peanut products that same day. 

And while aflatoxins are generally found only in minute amounts in peanut products (their levels are monitored, ostensibly), they are, nevertheless, twenty times more toxic than DDT, promoting liver damage and a variety of cancers. Unfortunately, organic peanut butter isn’t exempt, even though it’s free of many other carcinogens (read: pesticides, additives).

Well, after a bit of debate, I welcomed my childhood friend back into my home and diet–my feelings for it were just too deeply rooted–but in relatively small quantities.  Besides, the legendary legume still boasts many very positive attributes, and the benefits seemed to equalize the drawbacks.  For instance, peanuts also contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats; they provide just as many antioxidants as fruit (which would, theoretically, balance out some of the nasty aflatoxin effects); they contain many cancer fighting compounds (again, anti-aflatoxin), and, along with nuts in general, are said to help with weight loss (I am SO on it!).

But was there a way to incorporate the plebeian peanut into the realm of adult tastes? True, you can find peanut butter in a variety of Thai dishes, which I love, or the less-spicy Chinese sauces.  And I made good use of PB in one of my favorite soups of all time, Moroccan Spiced Tomato Soup.

But today, I wanted to find something else.  Something a little more mature.  A little more sophisticated.  A little more. . .baked.

I suppose I could have taken an easy route and opted for that old standard, Peanut Butter Cookies.  With their characteristic cross-hatch and crispy bottoms, they’re a homey, cheerful and somewhat quaint rendering of PB.  And then there’s this bread, which I’ve been salivating over for quite some time.  Looks fabulous, doesn’t it?  But it requires the dreaded yeast, and I just couldn’t shake my anxiety over that one quite yet (is it an Edible Complex? Is it peanut envy?).

In the end, I decided to try something from my copy of the Damn Tasty! cookbook by Kris Holechek, which I bought some time ago and still hadn’t used. (Unfortunately, the book is no longer in print). I flipped to the recipe for Basic Biscuits–quick, easy, familiar–and made a couple of quick adaptations. 

The result was a light (flaky, almost), very appealing biscuit with the added dimension of peanut butter. At the same time, the biscuits are sturdy enough to cut in half and slather with a favorite topping (in my case–more PB!). 

Later, served with a little apple butter, they were reminiscent of those long-ago sandwiches of my childhood. 

Which is a good thing.

No, really.  

Because I used an ice-cream scoop to create uniformly sized biscuits,  I thought this would be a great submission for Joelen‘s Tasty Tools event, this month highlighting scoops.

Peanut Butter Biscuits (adapted from Damn! Tasty Vegan)

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

These are light and not too sweet, with a subtle peanut butter flavor. Like a peanut-butter enhanced whole-wheat biscuit, they exude nutrition, healthfulness and subconscious id-related urges.

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

 

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As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]  

 

 

[This week’s Lucky Comestible is sweet potatoes; here’s part 3 in the series. ]

It’s a snowy, windy, perenially grey landscape here in DDD land.  The snow is so fine and dense as it swirls and sweeps by my window that it appears almost like some giant Scotsman is smoking his pipe and blowing smoke round the corner.  Well, come on in, O Accented One–I’ve got scones to serve! (And they are part of your heritage, after all.)

 Since breakfast is my very favorite all-time meal (yes, I’m sure I must have mentioned that before), I’m always on the lookout for a good scone recipe.  This can sometimes be a bit challenging, as I don’t use butter or eggs, evidement, but I also don’t use vegan margarines.  If you’re looking for an acceptable whole food that can substitute for butter, your only real bet is organic coconut oil.  Now, that’s fine with me, as it’s solid at room temperature and tastes quite yummy.  I use the one in the big black jar as it doesn’t impart any real coconut flavor (not that there’s anything wrong with that–just not always what I fancy when I want the other flavors in the dish to shine).

So for me, scones are generally a mix of spelt flour, soured soymilk or other non-dairy milk, and coconut butter.  I generally throw in a dried fruit or fresh berries, scoop, and voila!–pseudo scones.  Most of the time, I just drool over the recipes I find on other blogs and move on.  This week, I thought sweet potato scones would be perfect, as I love sweet potatoes and often have lots of puree in the house (it’s also something I often feed to The Girls as well).

In my search for the perfectly adaptable recipe, I came across many winners.  Hannah over at Bittersweet baked up some yummy looking Orange-Cranberry Scones, courtesy of an original recipe on Bakingsheet; and while I love cranberries in scones, I was on the lookout for something that could incorporate sweet potatoes without too much protest.  So it was on to a savory sweet potato scone recipe from Tartelette. Adapted from an original recipe on Recipezaar, this one featured onions, so that was out for me (though maybe for another day. . .).  But the recipe that really caught my eye was the one for Pumpkin Scones by Johanna over at Green Gourmet Giraffe.  After salivating over her photos of these butter-soaked scones (or are they biscuits? see what Johanna says), I decided that, with a few modifications, I’d have my dream scone! With some extra cranberries in my freezer and sweet potato puree in the fridge, I was ready to go.

These turned out great.  They have a light interior with just a hint of sweetness, and the tart, juicy cranberries are just the right counterpoint to the sweetness of the scone.  And with a touch of apple butter and some faux coffee, they made a heavenly breakfast.

(“Mum, we could use some breakfast, too, you know.  And we adore sweet potatoes! So if there’s any of that puree left over. . . . “)

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones (adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe)

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

swpotsconeapbut.jpg

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.