No Oven Required: My Peanut Butter Cup Runneth Over


[Photograph: pinkpucca on Flickr]

My head is a scary place, Serious Eaters. One of the curses of being an excessively verbal person is that I have a constant internal monologue. I've been told that the average person just reaches for a can of coffee grinds in the morning. But as soon as I get out of bed, the nattering in my head starts:

"I love this French Roast. It's so dark and smoky! But maybe I shouldn't be drinking coffee. After all, it's better not to really NEED coffee in the morning. Of course, I'm not really addicted. It's just one cup. And some studies say coffee is good for you. Or was that green tea? Maybe I should buy green tea and laundry detergent this afternoon. Or should I wait until after dinner when the market is less crowded? Ooh! I forgot to switch on NPR."

I verbalize everything in my head. I am like the poster child for someone who does not "think in pictures." I have made many a yoga teacher lose Enlightenment in frustration trying to help me "empty the mind of distractions."

Eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups over the years has spurred such philosophical meditations as...

Why is the peanut butter inside a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup like no other substance on earth? The Reese's peanut butter you buy in jar is nothing like the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Why is that sweet, gritty peanut butter so addictive?

Recently, I discovered a recipe for peanut butter bars or cups that attempted to replicate that same texture. The solution to that gritty, peanut buttery texture was finely processed graham cracker crumbs. (With a bit of effort, crumbling and then smashing the crackers also works, if you don't have a food processor).

Of course, this isn't a diet food or health food, but if you use a good, natural, or organic brand of graham crackers, you can theoretically reduce some of the less healthy aspects of eating a commercial candy bar. At least, that's how I rationalized making these addictive things. I also tried saltine crumbs, and while not as perfect a replica of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, it offered an intriguing, less sugary taste than the cookies. In the original version of the recipe, some commentators also used the crumbs of nonsugary cereals.