Recently, I had a craving for chocolate and peanuts. That is a good craving since they both provide well-substantiated health benefits. But the calories from the fat in them and sugar in the chocolate add up quickly, bringing up that challenging work “moderation.”
Moderation means having one ounce of chocolate – about one third of a good quality dark chocolate bar, and two tablespoons of peanut butter, what nutrition experts consider one serving. So I decided to make the most of them in the most enjoyable way. I was delighted when help appeared, in the form of peanut powder, a fluffy “essence of peanut” in powder form.
To satisfy my craving, I ended up combining the powder with intense, dark natural cocoa powder, coconut milk and coconut sugar, making a chocolate and peanut ganache. Spread on toast, it was bliss. With fresh strawberries, used as a dip it was downright decadent.
Peanut powder is actually roasted whole peanuts with 85 percent of their oil removed, and the nuts then turned into a seemingly weightless powder. Containing the same amounts of protein and fiber found in two tablespoons of peanut butter, it has just two grams of fat instead of the 18 grams found in peanut butter.
Yes, the fat in peanuts is the good kind, but many other foods we eat in the course of a day, like extra virgin olive oil, can provide good fat. And they do not have the flavor of roasted peanuts. Getting this flavor in a pleasantly creamy way for just 70 calories instead of the 200 calories in a serving of peanut butter feels like serendipity, if not downright magic.
Recently, at Stop & Shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., I found Jif Peanut Powder and one from Peanut Butter & Co. I did not see them at supermarkets near me so I checked the Internet, where I found peanut powder at iHerb.com. But you have to buy at least one pound, a lot of this very light-weight powder, and wait (impatiently) for delivery.
Naming this fudgy blend Peanutella felt brilliant. Out of curiosity, I did a Google search, hoping that I was being original. Of course not! Giving credit where it is due, Deb Perelman used it in Smitten Kitchen, her mega-blog, a few years back as the second name for her Chocolate-Peanut Spread. Our food attitudes are quite different; so are our versions of Peanutella. Deb’s, favoring over-the-top indulgence, requires roasting and grinding whole peanuts adding added peanut oil, and confectioners’ sugar. My recipe, a quick mix-up, offers fast, sigh-inducing gratification with a fraction of the calories.
If you do not have strawberries, whirling Peanutella with a banana, and any milk you like makes a killer smoothie. On blustery days, stirred into a cup of warmed milk, it adds enough protein to make a nutty, chocoholic-pleasing snack in a cup.
“Peanutella” (Makes 1/2 cup)
3 Tbsp. unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. peanut powder
2 Tbsp. coconut sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk, or 1/4 up reduced fat
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, peanut powder, and sugar. Add the coconut milk and vanilla, and whisk until the mixture is blended and smooth.