All of a sudden, you have a sweet tooth that came out of nowhere. You look in the pantry and discover that you have no cake or cookie mix. The only thing you have is peanut butter. You may think to yourself, “I can’t work with this,” but can you? Can you bake peanut butter by itself?
Unfortunately, no. You cannot bake peanut butter by itself. If you were to try, it would simply melt and have its oil separate, and if it’s a peanut butter with added sugar, that sugar would likely scorch as well.
However, peanut butter is quite versatile and can be combined with a number of other ingredients you may have lying around to still become a suitable treat, whether you choose to bake it or simply melt it down to mix into a bake-free snack like peanut butter fudge.
How Do You Bake with Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is a fantastic ingredient for adding to plenty of other ingredients. Due to its high oil content, you’ll need to ensure you have the right accompanying ingredients in whichever recipe you choose to help properly bind everything together and dry it up enough to stay in one piece, whether it’s for cookies, fudge, or even fun treats like haystacks.
Eggs are the most common binding ingredient found in baked goods, but some other common treat recipes involving peanut butter may only use flaxseed, psyllium husks, confectioner’s sugar, or some other dry component to balance out the oils of the nut butter. Flour is the most popular ingredient in baking due to its gluten content that helps hold cookies, breads, and cakes together in one piece, but there are plenty of options aside from regular flour for those who want a gluten-free snack.
Baking with Thin and Creamy Peanut Butter
When it comes to baking with thin and creamy peanut butter, this is typically the most common type of peanut butter found in stores and used in such recipes. Its smoothness, creaminess, and thin composition allow it to easily be mixed into various types of batters for equal distribution. You shouldn’t have any trouble at all when choosing to incorporate this type and consistency of peanut butter into any snack you’re craving.
Baking with Oily Peanut Butter
Baking with all-natural peanut butter is possible, but the oils that separate and settle onto the top of the butter will need to be mixed back in first. If you commonly use natural peanut butter, you’re no stranger to this phenomenon.
When including natural and very oily peanut butter in any of your recipes, once you’ve mixed the settled oils back into the butter itself before use, you should have no further problems unless you were to allow your batter to sit out at room temperature for an excessively long period of time (which you shouldn’t do). Otherwise, it will cook just the same as the thin and creamy peanut butter once baked into your recipe of choice.
Baking with Chunky Peanut Butter
Baking with chunky peanut butter might be one of the best options, especially if you want the nuts and peanut butter to be the star of the recipe rather than just a flavor boost or side ingredient. If your recipe calls for this type of peanut butter, simply follow the directions and you’ll be set. However, if this recipe you want to use calls for one of the thinner and creamier types of peanut butter but you choose to substitute that with the chunky variation, pay attention to the overall consistency of your final batter as it may require additional liquids (such as milk, oil, or water—whichever it applicable) or it may need the amount of dry ingredients slightly scaled back due to the thickness of this peanut butter type.
Treats You Can Make with Peanut Butter
Some people choose to eat their peanut butter straight out of the container, but if you’re wanting to instead make a delicious baked snack to enjoy your sugary protein boost, there are a few tasty peanut butter-based treats that you should definitely know about.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Baking some delicious peanut butter cookies may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about what you can bake with peanut butter.
One of the best peanut butter cookie recipes on the internet only has three ingredients:
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of peanut butter
Substitutions for any of the ingredients above are perfectly acceptable, whether you want to change the type of peanut butter used or maybe want to use brown sugar instead of regular white granulated sugar. Egg type is also irrelevant, so whether you have standard large eggs or cage-free ones, they will work just the same.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
- Spoon your mixture onto a cookie sheet or greased pan.
- Bake for 6 to 8 minutes.
- Let them cool, and enjoy!
Peanut Butter Banana Oat Cookies
Making peanut butter cookies may be enough for some people, but for those who may want a little more “oomph” in their treat, adding banana and oats to the mixture could be just the go-to snack you are looking for.
This recipe is also made with three simple ingredients:
- 3 large bananas
- 1½ cup of oats
- 4 tbsp. of peanut butter
Again, these ingredients can easily be substituted with similar variations to fit your taste, such as exchanging the peanut butter type or using a particular style of oats you prefer. Some people even like to add a few chocolate chips to the batter!
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Ground the oats to a powdered form for more cohesiveness, but you may also leave the oats whole if preferred.
- Mash the bananas well.
- Add the oats and peanut butter to the mashed banana.
- Fold well until everything is mixed.
- Spoon the mixture onto a cookie sheet or greased pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Let them cool, and enjoy!
Peanut butter is a great snack to have in your kitchen, especially if you feel like baking. There are plenty of recipes available, both simple and complex, to meet your sweet tooth’s needs. Many of these involve baking, but you can also find options that allow you to simply heat your peanut butter and mix it with sugar and other ingredients in a bowl to use as a coating for crackers, Chex mix, and plenty more. There’s something for everybody regardless of your level of skill with cooking.
Always be sure to follow your recipes closely and keep in mind the notes above when choosing to switch out your peanut butter types or substituting any other ingredients so you end up with a delicious dessert instead of a big mess. Happy baking!