Guess what we get to talk about today? Peanut butter! Booyah.
Seriously though, I'm so excited. This is my first product review, and so far I'm a fan. I get free samples, I give you all my honest and uncompensated (unless otherwise indicated) opinions, and then you guys get some chance of a lifetime deals.
My family went through a phase of organic-ness. I vaguely remember eating funny-tasting fruit cereals, rather bland granola bars, and desperately missing Oreos. I think the one thing that stuck from that phase was the all-natural peanut butter. Whenever I have Jif now, I sort of wonder why on earth I ever liked it. Don't get me wrong, it has it's place, and where would my baked goods be without it? But if there were a way to incorporate organic peanut butter into more baked things....I'd be so happy.
The point being, I knew I'd be good for this review when Pacific Beach Peanut Butter contacted me a couple weeks ago. We've gone through quite a few brands of organic peanut butters. And, well, it's peanut butter, heck yes you can send me a free case.
And after reading the Founder's (Matthew Mulvihill) About page, I was even more convinced that this was a company I'd be happy to work with. I mean, the guy started the whole thing because he was craving a PBJ, and was out of peanut butter. That's so awesome. Pretty soon, he bought his own grinder, and set out on a quest to create awesome natural peanut butters and flavored peanut butter spreads. I love it.
They are certifiably gluten-free, the only organic peanut butter to use Valencia peanuts, and they hand pack each jar. That's real.
The three flavors I picked for sampling were the Touch of Caramel spread, All Natural Unsalted, and the Toffee spread.
I tried all three, and also had some family members and a friend give their feedback, so you're not only getting one point of view.
Touch of Caramel Spread: This was good, but don't go expecting a huge burst of caramel when you taste it. It's only got the barest hint, just enough to accentuate the roasted/salty peanut flavor, and to give it the right amount of sweetness. Definitely spoon-worthy.
All Natural Unsalted: There's a note on the side that reads "For the Purist." And, really, it is! If you don't like the idea of straight-up ground peanuts, I wouldn't go for this one. But do give it a chance! On its own, it's not fantastic. Though my father (a peanut-loving man if there ever was one) would disagree, seeing as he eats it by the spoonful. But spread it on a bagel, pair it with some crackers or a banana, and you've got a lovely, healthy snack of nutty goodness.
It really is nice to eat something that only has one thing in the ingredients list (back to that whole Jif controversy...). If unsalted really isn't your thing (and I totally understand), they have a version with salt just for you.
Toffee Spread: THIS ONE. My favorite, and everyone else's, hands down. Like you couldn't tell, I only made it into naughty bars of goodness. But really, it's so good. I'm not a huge toffee fan, so don't think you need to be to love this stuff. It's mostly just sweet, a bit caramelized, and has a lovely crunch. Give me 50 more jars, please and thank you.
All-in-all, I'm a fan of Pacific Beach, and I think we'll be buying more of their lovely products in the near future. This might be mostly due to the fact that my dad is absolutely in love with each one of the flavors. If you think I'm kidding...I'm not. When a man's willing to wax poetry about peanut butter to get some more, then you know it's real.
And now you guys get a li'l ol' deal, just because you're reading this and the peanut butter people like you. Starting right now and ending 4/15/13, with every purchase you make at Pacific Beach Peanut Butter you get one free jar of your choice! So, essentially, a buy-one-get-one-free thing. Just include this code when you make your order to seal the deal.
OFFER CODE: blogger03
Again, this code is only active until 4/15/13, and you have to add your chosen free jar to the rest of your cart order for it to apply.
Browse their products here, and definitely try the Toffee Spread. I'm thinking the Butterscotch (currently $2 off) and CinnaYum are next on my hit list...
Oh yeah, the bars! My apologies to anyone who came here just to get a yummy-looking recipe. But hey, now you have some pretty in-depth knowledge about a pretty awesome peanut butter company. Win-win.
So these are fabulous, no-bake, have brown butter in them, and take approximately 15 minutes of your life to whip together. Aaand they're organic peanut butter-friendly. That's my kind of dessert.
These are not your average creamy peanut butter bar, let's just get that straight. They're definitely more on the toffee side of the spectrum. Crunchy, salty, sweet... I definitely recommend that you use the Toffee spread for maximum toffee-ness, but feel free to work with whatever you have on hand.
Enjoy these rich little devils, and treat yoself to some peanut butter.
Brown Butter Toffee Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
Yield: about 16 bars
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Pacific Beach Toffee Peanut Butter Spread (or just regular peanut butter, organic or not)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup toffee bits (I used Heath, found in my local store's baking aisle)
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
In a small, light-colored saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. When the butter has melted it will start to crackle and foam, this is just the water cooking out of the butter. When the butter stops crackling, brown solids will begin to form on the bottom. Watch carefully at this point, swirling the pan, to make sure it doesn't burn. When the butter is golden, smells slightly nutty/wonderful, and has browned solids on the bottom, immediately pour into a bowl and allow to cool.
Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the cooled brown butter, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, powdered sugar, salt, peanut butter, and vanilla. Stir well. Mix in the toffee bits. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing into an even layer.
Melt the chocolate chips according to your preferred method (I did mine in the microwave on 50% power for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally), and pour over the peanut butter layer. Smooth with a rubber spatula and tap the pan gently against the counter to even it out, if necessary.
Chill for at least one hour, then cut into bars.
Sources: adapted from I Heart Nap Time
Disclaimer: Pacific Beach Peanut Butter provided me with 3 jars of my choice to sample and review. I was not compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.