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Pen Pals & Peanut Butter

Posted Oct 30 2011 11:30am
Can you believe we're already nearing the end of another month? October has flown by, and, as we are about to embark on another 28-to-31-day journey around the sun (one entitled Operation: November), it's time to reveal the (no tricks, just) treats featured in this month's Foodie Pen Pal exchange! After packing up my box and sending it off to the loveable leader of this whole exchange, Miss Lean Green (Bean) Lindsay ... ...and being so nervous about the pressure of having the head honcho herself receive my package that I was overly wordy in my note to her... ...and nearly set my beloved food processor on fire making Gingerbread Nutty Butter ... ...I was excited to see the yummy goodies that my pen pal, Jordan , had shipped to me! I was not disappointed. (Not that I ever could be. Goll, y'all, who could ever be disappointed by someone who took time to mail you TREATS?) Jordan even tried to make sure everything was vegan, since she knew I was participating in the Vegan Month of Food ! Apple cider and roasted North Carolina peanuts nestled themselves next to Trader Joe's Lite Kettle Corn... ...and homemade vegan Sugar Cookie Date Balls (from Averie 's recipe).
Both of which proved to be delicious movie theater snacks that dueled with Justin Timberlake for predominant drool-worthiness while watching In Time last night.
[ Source ]
Now, when I saw the Orange Cranberries from Trader Joe's, I was struck with an associative thought, perhaps made because of the inclusion of the aforementioned roasted peanuts. I've told y'all a few times that my favorite flavored peanut butter of all time (aside from ones I've made myself...should I remind you I sent Lindsay Gingerbread flavored Nutty Butter?) is Vanilla Cranberry Peanut Butter made my Archer Farms. I love it so much that when I realized it would never be made again, I refused to open this last jar of it that remains, still (for months now) in the back of my pantry, waiting until I can get over the whole "why do we buy good china dishes if we never use them?" issue. Although I've tried to make it before, I ended up with a concoction closer to a jar of crushed of Larabars , rather than the creamy peanut butter full of tiny cranberry chunks I love. But thanks to Jordan 's inspirational pen pal package, I've solved the problem and created a fabulous (and bizarre sounding) new peanut butter to add to my collection. The key? Start with super creamy peanut butter. I normally would make my own, of course, but I happen to have a whole jar's worth of creamy natural peanut butter than needed some amplification, so I dumped the whole darn thing into the food processor and went with that instead. Because I just can never stick to the script, I decided that since Mr. Cranberry was allowed to flavor himself orange for this peanut butter party, Queen Vanilla* ought to be able to bring a friend, too.
*She's a rather lazy and disheveled queen, really. But her messiness just reveals her zest for life and baking, right? Add vanilla and cinnamon to the peanut butter (plus a dash of salt and a wee bit of brown rice syrup) a little at a time, processing in between. What I learned from my last failed attempt at this was that when you want to add dried fruit to nut butter, you've got to make sure it's seasoned how you like first, because if you try to process in the fruit too early, you'll end up overprocessing and getting a Larabar -like glop. I ended up adding a tablespoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon and a half of vanilla before determining it a suitably balanced butter. Then, I dumped in a handful of cranberries. Process just until the cranberries are crushed up and evenly distributed.
With the addition of the cranberries, the nut butter will thicken, hence the intelligence behind starting with a super creamy peanut butter. It's still pretty drippable, though. :)
And certainly craveable....even if it sounds rather bizarre.
After licking the processor bowl clean, I realized I was in danger of orange cranberry peanut butter overdose and went ahead and packaged up the entire batch...waiting for delivery to my November Foodie Pen Pal!
Cinnamon Vanilla Orange Cranberry Peanut Butter

1 jar natural creamy peanut butter (about 2 cups)
1/2 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon (or to taste)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (or to taste)
1/4 cup orange-flavored dried cranberries

1. Combine peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and in a food processor.
2. Add cinnamon and vanilla in 1/2 teaspoon increments, processing in between, until the flavor is to your liking.
3. Add in cranberries and process just until cranberries are crushed evenly throughout.
4. Enjoy!
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Want the chance to be my (or another blogger or blog reader's)
November Foodie Pen Pal?

Contact Lindsay at theleangreenbean@gmail.com and include the following information -Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable) She will be waiting to hear from you by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on November 5th!

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