the best peanut butter ever

I’ve found peanut butter to be a nearly universally appreciated food. Save those who have allergies, I’ve never met anyone who truly dislikes this classic bread spread. The only difference among fans seems to be that some folks like peanut butter, while others are passionately in love with it. For those in the second camp, I offer a recipe for possibly the best peanut butter in the world.

When Jane and Michael Stern, of road food fame, gave Hell’s Kitchen (the Minneapolis restaurant, not Gordon Ramsay’s television show) peanut butter a very public thumbs-up on National Public Radio, this pb got very famous very quickly. Used in the restaurant, HK’s pb is also sold jarred. When Hell’s Kitchen owner and chef, Mitch Omer, published his Damn Good Food cookbook (a must-read if you love sharp wit and a lot of drama with your recipes), the peanut butter recipe was finally available to all.

While I’m maybe more of a peanut butter liker than lover, I’ve still made this recipe at least a half-dozen times. It’s just that amazing. At its most basic, peanut butter offered salty-sweet before salty-sweet was the thing. HK’s gussied-up version (butter! peanut oil! roasted peanuts! brown sugar! honey!) also offers a slightly grainy texture–which is a very good thing–a subtle sweetness, lots of salt, and a lovely roasted note from the peanuts. Oh, and it’s creamy and silky and savory. If you love peanut butter, this is a recipe you must make.

this stuff will make you swoon: freshly made Hell's Kitchen peanut butter

Hell’s Kitchen peanut butter will make you swoon

The book also has a recipe for peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies, which uses HK peanut butter. I’ll again go with the superlative and say these are among the best cookies I’ve ever had. The peanut butter is intense and subtle at the same time, giving ordinary pb chocolate chip cookies an extraordinary amount of flavor. Damn Good Food (which is also a d@mn good read) is worth the price for this cookie recipe alone. (Though you’ll also find recipes for the restaurant’s most popular fare–cookie brittle, lemon-ricotta hotcakes, cinnamon rolls, and then some.) The website’s cookbook video is laugh-out-loud funny and as good a marketing tool as any. Omer and his crew have a healthy sense of humor, which says they must have loads of fun in their kitchen. Which explains, of course, why their peanut butter tastes so amazing.

12 thoughts on “the best peanut butter ever

  1. Yummmmm!! As a definite lover of peanut butter, I am so making this! PB&J’s were the only sandwich I ever ate until college. Seriously for 12 years that’s all I ate for lunch and I still love it. On the other hand, my grandmother is the only person I know who despises PB. There had to be one!

    • So your grandma is the exception to the rule:-) Do make the pb, then let me know if you like. I don’t roast the peanuts as long as the recipe says (in the cookbook it’s a good 40 min (!), but I think the newspaper link had about half that). Just go by smell and browning. Also, you watched the video? Love this Omer guy.

  2. I pay extra for the organic peanut butter bc it is already in a jar, chock full of nutty goodness, and has no sugar. This recipe sounds good, though, adding honey. We cannot do the Jif or the Skippy; it is very Honey Boo Boo to me to eat that. My son had braces all last year, and we had to eat only smooth, and it pained me. As you said Michael and Jane, I pictured them in a convertible, like the picture in the back of one of my books. They have dream jobs. And one more thing–my dad has two brothers, both of whom deplore peanut butter, and the one used to get the lid off the peanut butter and chase the other around the house, threatening to wipe it on him, to prove he was the alpha male. They had no allergies, just a strange aversion to it. Weird, right?

    • are you a food snob in general or just for pb? (this coming from a food snob–no judgement) The smooth stuff is boring for sure. Though we always have both on hand.

      Very strange about the guys chasing with pb. And that they would deplore pb. If nothing else, it does the trick for removing gum from hair.

      This pb probably contains oodles more calories than Skippy etc, but oh my is it tasty. Just need to hit Xperience more often.

      Thanks for digging through fff archives!

      • I wouldn’t say I’m a food snob, but I grew up on Whole Foods/tofu sandwiches/carob bars, so I can’t stomach white bread and Spam and American Cheese and all that processed stuff. Or Sizzler or Golden Corral. So, yeah, I guess I am a snob and try to avoid places where people sneeze into buffets.

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