I'll admit to being on a bit of a baking binge of late. I am not sure why. And mostly it has been OK, since I have a wonderful cookbook for baking small batches of things (I'll blog about that another day).
But this afternoon I am baking a whole batch of peanut butter cookies. And I'll admit to one more thing -- I love peanut butter. Not the natural, nothing but ground peanut kind, but the kind that is super smooth, has added sugar and vegetable oil. I know it isn't all that good for me. And I know there are other better choices for my health and probably for the earth, too. But it is an indulgence. So while the cookies are baking, I thought I would do a little research on my peanut butter of choice.
Here's what I found: all peanut butter has to contain at least 90% peanuts to be called peanut butter according to federal law. That's better than I expected. But mine does have some added oil, and more sugar and sodium than some other brands. But honestly, these are the ingredients that make "regular" peanut butter taste so good! It has no trans fats, is high in niacin and vitamin E.
What about the other ingredients in the cookies? Pretty standard peanut butter cookie recipe I think (it is the one my mom used -- one of the few recipes she used from The Joy of Cooking). Butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, flour and baking soda. Most of my other ingredients came from the co-op and therefore are likely either local, organic, or both.
And I go through phases with peanut butter, some times eating a lot of it over the course of a week or so, and other times, not even remembering it is an option for months at a time.
But there is one thing for certain -- eating peanut butter always makes me feel like a kid again, and sometimes I need that.
My cookie jar is filling up, but my peanut butter jar is running low. I am going to try a peanut butter that might be a little healthier for me and the earth next purchase. I will have to report back. They say that peanuts make up an enormous amount of the land that is planted in this country, so if more people chose organic peanuts it could make a big difference in the amount of chemicals used in American farming.
I'll report back on my next peanut butter purchase to see if I can make a recommendation for an organic brand. It must, in my book, make a good sandwich and bake into cookies well if it is going to be a contender.