Elephants love ‘em; baseball games need ‘em; and chocolate just tastes better when they’re around. Yes folks, I’m talking about peanuts. Although it’s true that today almonds seem to be having a moment while peanuts are the dunce in class (or not in class at all, due largely to a very inconvenient rise in allergies – way to ruin it for the rest of us, kids), but for me peanuts will always be the MVP of the nut world. Ever since my first delicious bite of creamy, salty peanut butter spread across a fat piece of toast as a kid, I was hooked – and I haven’t kicked the habit yet. In fact, I’m as addicted as ever.
Luckily, even though my love of peanut butter has not changed, my choice in peanut butter has. Long gone are the days of giant jars of Skippy or Kraft (much to my husband’s chagrin), which are packed with sugar and a hundred other chemicals that wreak havoc on your breakfast and your body. Instead, grown up me opts for organic, all natural peanut butter that packs all the amazing peanut goodness and flavour sans the crap – making it the perfect addition to toast, oatmeal, cookies and one of my favourites, brownies. More on that in a minute.
Unfortunately, peanuts have gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent years, largely due to low fat diet fads that ostracized peanuts as too “fatty”. It’s true that like most things (except spinach), peanuts should be consumed in moderation (think a few 2 Tbsp. servings per week), but when part of a well-rounded diet they offer a lot of awesome health benefits. For one, your heart loves peanuts. In fact, studies found peanuts lowered the risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. Second – your brain loves them, too. This is because they are one of the highest niacin (a B vitamin) containing foods out there, and a study found that those getting the most niacin from foods were 70 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. They are also full of healthy monounsaturated fat, which reduces belly fat and helps keep you satisfied longer (thus contributing to weight loss). Peanut butter is also high in protein as well as potassium — which lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. It also contains fiber for your bowel health, magnesium to fortify your bones and muscles, and vitamin E and antioxidants to help keep you disease free!
And what better way to enjoy ALL these amazing benefits than with a big, fat tray of Peanut Butter Brownies! Especially when they are sugar-free, grain-free, high-protein and friggin’ delish like my newest version.
The Natural Blonde
P.s. As much as I love the taste of my adult PB, one thing I miss greatly is opening a brand new jar of Skippy (or Squirrel? Doesn’t matter…) and finding one whole, delicious peanut just sitting there on top. Silly – I know. But I loved it. So! I leave this post with an open note to all organic peanut butter companies: how about puttin’ a fresh peanut on the top of your delicious PB for your old gal pal, The Natural Blonde, and all those who are with me in wanting a little childhood nostalgia with their breakfast? We’d greatly appreciate it.
Peanut Butter Brownies
- ½ cup natural peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter)
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ⅓ cup xylitol* or coconut sugar
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup cacao powder
- ½ tsp. celtic sea salt
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips (I use stevia sweetened to keep the recipe sugar free but 70% cocoa will work, too)
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, eggs, applesauce and coconut oil (I use an electric mixer for this). Next, add the vanilla, vinegar, cacao powder, salt, xylitol or sugar, and baking soda and mix again. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips by hand before pouring into a parchment lined 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until the middle is cooked through (you can tell they’re done when the middle doesn’t “wobble”). Remove and let cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Honestly, these are actually best chilled because they get denser and fudgier so, if you can wait, stash them in the fridge for at least an hour before enjoying! Store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
*xylitol is a natural sugar substitute made from plants that does not cause blood sugar spikes and is lower in calories than regular sugar and doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste of stevia that some people hate. Make sure you use non GMO sourced xylitol, or just use regular coconut sugar if you want something more familiar.