When I decided to write about peanut butter in this week's Eye Food column, the first thing that came to my mind immediately was peanut punch, and why not? It's one of those drinks that's decidedly Caribbean, and every island you visit has their own version, including Jamaica, Barbados and Grenada.
Now that Carnival is in the air and the nightlife is calling, Trinidad and Tobago's punch men are working harder than ever at their kiosks creating those special mixes for their customers, especially the guys. Come on, don't pretend that you don't know that shakes and punches made from peanut butter are regarded as 'those' ahem... strengthening drinks with aphrodisiac qualities... of course, extra ingredients are added, such as linseed, beetroot, carrot, etc., and the men swear by their energy boosting 'capabilities'. Truth be told, peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and because of this, it is often used as a high protein source emergency food for poor families. It comes in two basic types, chunky (which has bits of peanuts in it) and smooth, and nearly every person keeps some in their cupboard to slather on some bread (with or without jelly) or eat it straight from the jar – like me! If your tastes are more eclectic, peanut butter sauce may be more up your alley, especially when paired with Chinese styled chicken skewers. I even have a friend that loves eating crisp, crunchy slices of apple with peanut butter, and she even puts it on celery sticks. This week, we are celebrating that peanut butter love with two simple recipes. The first is for that Trini classic, peanut punch and the second is peanut butter-raisin cupcakes, which go great with a glass of cold milk; crystal-clear. Eye Food winners in their own right. Enjoy!.
Quick Peanut Punch
Recipe adapted from Christopher De La Rosa
(To make this you will need a blender or a Magic Bullet.)
8-10 cubes of ice
2 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or chunky – your choice)
*1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk (skimmed or whole)
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
A dash of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of granola
Start by placing the ice in your blender; this way the
condensed milk and peanut butter will go on top of it and not settle on the bottom where the blades will not reach.
Put in the peanut butter, followed by the condensed milk and regular milk.
Add in the essence, nutmeg and granola, and blend for about 30-40 seconds until everything breaks down and is incorporated evenly.
Serves two persons (or one "greedy" one). Recipe can also be doubled or tripled if necessary.
* If you don't have condensed milk, you can add brown sugar or honey as your sweetener or a combination of both.
Peanut Butter Raisin cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup raisins (or sultanas)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups.
Place all the ingredients except the raisins (or sultanas)
in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer at low
speed until blended.
Mix in the raisins (or sultanas) until they are spread
throughout the batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cups,
filling each one to 2/3 full.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the
centre comes out clean.
Cool them in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.