Sunday, May 11, 2008

May Contain Mention of Peanuts

(First off, I feel sorry for people who are allergic to peanuts, if for nothing else then because they can never have peanut butter. If you're allergic to peanuts, you should stop reading now.)

My niece told me about Peanut Butter & Co. because of their sandwich shop in Greenwich Village, but they also offer a line of peanut butter and other products.

They have two specials running for Mother's Day, a tin of peanut butter brownies and a tin of peanut butter cookies, but I would presume they don't have those only for Mother's Day.

"One dozen rich, chocolaty brownies topped with tasty peanut butter swirls."

"One dozen old fashioned peanut butter cookies".

As I mentioned, they have a variety of products, including multiple varieties of peanut butter. The most common is the smooth peanut butter.

I liked the flavor of the smooth peanut butter, but I did have one problem with it - the oil of the peanut butter separates and sits as a layer on top, which isn't a problem - I've seen other peanut butters like that, and you just have to mix it up. Well, that's easier said than done in this case. The peanut butter is *really* hard, and it's carpal-tunnel-inducing trying to get it mixed up, and it never really mixes all the way into a smooth consistency. There are bits that are more blobby and bits that are runnier. I don't plan to buy this again.

They also offer a peanut butter mixed with dark chocolate.

I found this to be too chocolaty. Now, I like chocolate, and if I want chocolate, then I'll have chocolate, but the chocolate in this case overpowered the peanut butter, so the end product ended up being not peanut buttery for me.

They also offer a peanut butter mixed with fiery spices.

This sounded kind of interesting, and I like the hot spices, but it's a bit too spicy for my taste, even though I like spicy.

I ended up with a good compromise to the problem - I put the chocolate peanut butter on one piece of bread and the spicy peanut butter on the other and then put the two pieces of bread together. The mix of chocolate and spicy peanut butter was pretty good.

In addition to the smooth peanut butter, they also offer crunchy peanut butter that includes big pieces of chopped peanuts. I'm not a fan of crunchy peanut butter (too hard to spread), so I haven't tried this one.

They also have a peanut butter mixed with white chocolate, and since I don't like white chocolate, I haven't tried this one either.

They also have a peanut butter mixed with cinnamons and raisins. I'm not a fan of raisins, so I haven't tried this, but the cinnamon sounds intriguing, so I'm figuring on trying an experiment sometime - either just sprinkling cinnamon over peanut butter spread on bread or actually mixing cinnamon into the peanut butter before spreading it, but then the ratio might be hard to get right.

They've added two new flavors to their line-up - peanut butter mixed with honey and peanut butter mixed with maple syrup.

The peanut butter and honey actually sounds kind of interesting, though I'm not entirely sure why I think a softened banana should also be included, especially since I've not really understood the whole "peanut butter and banana" phenomenon. I'm not sure how I feel about the maple syrup. In both cases, I think it will depend on the blending ratio, because I could see both being too sweet for me, like with the chocolate.

You can order peanut butter varieties and other products from the website, but some stores also carry the peanut butter varieties. I found the original six flavors some time ago at Whole Foods Market. Bristol Farms also carries this brand as well.

One of the things I've ordered through the website is the peanut butter pretzels, and boy, were they delicious. The pretzel part wasn't too hard but wasn't soft either, just the right level of crunch, and inside, you got a little delicious nugget of peanut butter. It's probably a good thing that I haven't seen these in a store.

You can sign up to be on their mailing list, and you will get periodic emails with special offers and the like. The most recent email included the following little story:

Peanut Buttery Dessert Contest Winner
Jiyoun Oh, a pastry and baking student at the Culinary Institute of America, won the grand prize in the Peanut Buttery Dessert contest held at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC last March 5. The contest challenged culinary students to create an innovative, restaurant-quality dessert recipe using Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter. Jiyoun won for her sublime creation Peanut Butter Panna Cotta with Caramel Mousse. She took home a gold medal and $1000 cash prize.

That dessert looks and sounds amazing!

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