Peanut butter Christmas desserts

Peanut butter isn’t just for children’s lunches! It is good in a wide variety of dishes. At Christmas, peanut butter is used to make delicious desserts including cookies, fudge and candies.

Delicious peanut butter Christmas desserts

Peanuts originated in South America, and have been traced back to 950 B.C. Peanuts actually are not nuts, but legumes. They are rich in protein, and that attribute is what led to the development of peanut butter.

Peanut butter was developed in the 1890’s by a doctor looking for a protein source for his patients who were unable to chew and digest other protein sources. Peanut butter was first marketed as a health food.  It met with limited success, but began to become popular in the 1930’s after the process was developed to stabilize the peanut butter. This prevented the oils from separating.

Today peanut butter is a staple in American pantries.  It is estimated that, on average, each American eats three pounds of peanut butter per year. The average American child will consume 1500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time they graduate high school.

Peanut butter isn’t just for sandwiches. You can find peanut butter as an ingredient in all kinds of recipes. It is used in appetizers, main dishes, and of course desserts. At Christmas, peanut butter is a very popular ingredient for cookies, fudge, and candy.

Peanut butter cookies are always a hit. Turn them into a Christmas favorite simply by adding a chocolate kiss after they are baked. Use your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe, form the dough into balls, but do only press slightly with a fork. Bake, and when you remove the cookies from the oven, gently press a chocolate kiss on top of the cookie. The heat from the cookie will melt the chocolate enough to hold the kiss on top after the cookie has cooled. Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Recipes

Peanut butter cookies

Need a good peanut butter cookies recipe? Try this one.

1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour

Cream butter, sugar, and peanut butter. Add vanilla, and egg. Beat until fluffy. Stir in dry ingredients, and mix until a stiff dough forms. Shape into balls (about he size of a walnut.) Place on greased cookie sheets. Press cookies with a fork in a criss cross. Dip the fork into sugar between presses. Bake for 10 minutes at 375°F.

Fast peanut butter fudge

There are many popular candies made with peanut butter for the holidays. Fudge is always a favorite. A very simple fudge recipe follows.

2 cuo  sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a full boil, and boil for exactly one minute. Put peanut butter and vanilla in a bowl. Pour boiled sugar over the peanut butter and beat with a mixer until thick. Pour into a buttered pan. Cut into squares when cool.

Peanut butter balls

You can’t miss when you pair chocolate and peanut butter together. Peanut butter balls are a delicious and easy way to accomplish the pairing.

Mix 18 oz of creamy peanut butter with 1 pound of powdered sugar. Knead until smooth, and form into small balls. Slowly melt coating chocolate (lite, dark or white) in a double boiler. Dip the peanut butter balls into chocolate, and set on waxed paper to cool.

Peanut butter may feed thousands of American school children everyday, but it can be used for so much more. Enjoy it in your Christmas desserts this season.