To make your peanut butter perfect

December 22, 2015

Good stuff with peanut butter, right here.

Good stuff with peanut butter, right here.

I have made a New Thing.

Banana jam.

It’s all because of cheesecake. Bear with me, here, and I’ll link the two.

I got to thinking after I posted the cheesecake recipe the other day, of different combinations of cheesecakes I could make. And then I read my son-in-law’s facebook post about the food truck or restaurant, I forget which, in Nashville that makes a peanut butter, banana jam and bacon sandwich. And I thought to myself, “Self? You need to figure out how to make banana jam. Because then you could put Grant’s peanut butter into a cheesecake, and top it with banana jam, and that would be pretty spectacular.

Grant is my son-in-law. He makes peanut butter, here. More on that in a minute.

I was making another white chocolate cherry cheesecake to take to a Sunday school class Christmas potluck. And I knew I’d have more batter than I needed, so I figured I’d put the excess in a graham cracker crust. And then I thought to self, again, “Self? You’ve got bananas about to go south on you. Put you some peanut butter in that cheesecake, and make you some banana jam to go on top of it.” So self agreed we’d do that.

I made up the batter. Took part of it out, added the white chocolate to the rest. Poured that in the springform. Took the remaining batter, stirred in a half-cup of honey vanilla peanut butter, and poured that in a graham cracker piecrust. Stashed both in the oven.

Then I betook myself to the Interwebs, where I looked up banana jam recipes. Found one that looked relatively simple — bananas, sugar, water, spices, lemon juice. But it called for 3 1/2 cups of mashed bananas, which was more than I had, and 3 cups of sugar, which I thought was absolutely unconscionable.

So I got an idea how the recipes looked, and I took off winging it, thusly:

  • 4 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (should yield between 1 1/2 and 2 cups mashed bananas)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp each nutmeg and cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

Boil the water and brown sugar until it’s dissolved. Add the spices and lemon juice, and then the mashed banana pulp. (I used my potato masher to mash the bananas.)

Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes to reduce and thicken. I hit mine with the immersion blender to smooth it out; you could do that, or you could leave it chunky if you wanted a more rustic jam.

Put in airtight containers and refrigerate.

This made a pint and a quarter of jam. It is perfectly sweet; I can only imagine how disgusting the recipe with three times that much sugar would be. The spices are there but not obtrusive. It’s very banana-y.

I see no reason you couldn’t process this in a water-bath canner and make it shelf stable, if you had a bunch of it. I didn’t see the point, with that small amount. I’ll likely save one of the jars for Grant and keep the other one around to use. The half-half-pint jar will top the cheesecake, with some peanuts scattered on top for decoration.

Be warned. The finished product is NOT pretty. If you have ever changed a  baby diaper, you’ll hearken back to that (at least it smells a lot better!). If I could figure out how to food-color it, I’d do that.

I just enjoyed a schmear of it on top of a schmear of Grant’s honey vanilla peanut butter (my personal favorite) on a cracker. Good stuff. Will be trying it on a sandwich, with bacon, next week, be assured.

Re: the kids’ peanut butter. Grant loves him some peanut butter, and he and Child B are very much into natural and organic foods. He got into experimentation with flavoring peanut butter a year or so ago, with an eye toward starting a business that would make and sell a high-quality, non-GMO, all-organic product.

And that’s what they’re doing. Just moved into a new commercial kitchen, got contracts with lots of stores including Whole Foods, and are selling peanut butter hand over fist. Current flavors are traditional, honey vanilla (my aforementioned favorite), brown sugar cinnamon (tastes good, but has a grainy texture from the brown sugar that puts me off), and rainforest dark chocolate (just don’t care for it). Website will give you a list of stores where it’s available (Miss Cordelias on Mud Island in Memphis, Terry’s Finer Foods in Little Rock, a whole slew of places in the Nashville area, among others), or you can order. My grandchildren will appreciate your participation in their college education.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em get busy and order you some peanut butter, make you some banana jam, fry up some bacon and make you a sammich in memory of Elvis next month, OK?




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