I'm not fat-phobic – on the contrary, hurrah for butter and bone marrow! So I was surprised to discover that squeezing the oil out of peanuts can produce a substance more pure in flavour and much more versatile than traditional peanut butter.
Developed by food scientists at Bell Plantation in Tifton, Ga., as a way to broaden revenue streams for American peanut farmers, powdered peanut butter – or PB2 as the company has branded it – may have been first discovered by bodybuilders and possibly folks packing for the Mars mission, but it's a wonder ingredient that every cook and baker should have in their pantry. The delicate buff-coloured powder is as fine as cornstarch, allowing it to blend seamlessly into just about anything.
While I don't love the product's added sugar and salt, I do love that the non-GMO peanuts are grown in North America, that the product has a long shelf life, that it's lightweight and lower in calories than the oily stuff. Simply mix powder with water in a two-to-one ratio and it's ready. It's smoother, lighter and fresher, with a real leguminous flavour coming through.
Adding PB2 to a smoothie without bunging up the blender blades is just the most obvious advantage, but it's great in sauces, dry spice rubs, Thai food, cakes and icings – really anywhere a little hint of peanut or extra dose of protein would be appreciated. $7.49/184 g (6.5 oz) from well.ca (see bellplantation.com for more products, recipes and retailers).
Chocolate Almond Milk PB2 Banana Smoothie
With two types of nuts – tree and ground – and probiotic yogurt, this lusciously filling breakfast smoothie provides a major protein and calcium load. I used Blue Diamond Almond Breeze to test this recipe; the sweetness level will depend on the brand you like to use.
2 cups (500 ml) chocolate almond milk
2 tbsp (30 ml) PB2
1 frozen, peeled banana, coarsely chopped (unless you own a very powerful blender)
1 tbsp (15 ml) probiotic yogurt; any flavour is fine.
Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth.