Food on Friday: In the nut house

Nutella in cookies is just one of the excellent uses of nut butters.
Nutella in cookies is just one of the excellent uses of nut butters.

By Julia Westhoff

I realize the title of this post might be overdoing it, considering last week’s post mentioned my slight nervous breakdown, but it was too cute to pass up. Besides, as far as coping mechanisms are concerned, I would say nut butters are pretty good ones.

Nut butters. From vanilla almond, to honey peanut, to Nutella, the nut butter possibilities are endless — and boy, have we tried them all. It seems like every day there is a new nut butter lining the shelves of our local grocer. Right now my favorite is probably Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. It’s got just a hint of sweetness and a creamy texture, and it doesn’t require much mixing. Spreading it on a graham cracker is one of my favorite snacks. It also makes a killer almond butter and jelly sandwich.

Don’t get me wrong – I am no nut butter snob. I enjoy Skippy or Jif as much as anything else. And I have tasted some fancy nut butters that I’m not fond of. Cashew butter is one. Chocolate almond butter is another. But almost any nut butter would be my dessert island food (and in fact, peanut butter was a vital food when we were in the Peace Corps in Panama).

Here, my favorite ways to use nut butters.

Side note: I look forward to not having to say “nut butter” again for a while. It just doesn’t sound right.

  • In oatmeal
  • In smoothies (usually with bananas and dates or peaches)
  • Nutella chocolate-chip cookies
  • Nutella doughnut muffins
  • On graham crackers
  • In a banana milkshake: Freeze two cut up bananas, blend them with 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1 cup milk (or almond milk!). Serves two.

What am I missing? What are some maybe unexpected dishes you think benefit from a dollop of PB?

(And thinking ahead to next week… My parents just moved to Lawrence from Northern California. We’re hosting a “Welcome to Kansas” dinner next week, and I would love ideas about what Kansas-themed dishes to cook. I’d like bison to be on the menu, if possible. And something with sunflower seeds, but I’m not sure what. Does anyone have any good Kansas recipes?)