July 31, 2015

You’ve probably started seeing powdered peanut butter on the grocery shelves—right there next to standard peanut butter. No doubt, it’s becoming increasingly available, but what exactly is it?

It’s a product that's made by pressing roasted peanuts to remove most of the natural oils, and the remaining peanut “particles” are ground into a fine powder. Out with the oil/fat go many of the calories. Compare:

Standard creamy peanut butter (2 tablespoons) 190 calories 16g fat (2.5g sat) 7g protein

Peanut butter powder (2 tablespoons*) 45 calories 1.5g fat (0g sat) 5g protein

You can reconstitute the powdered product to create lower-calorie, less-fat peanut butter, but the texture is not as smooth and creamy. *When you reconstitute 2 tablespoons of the powder, you end up with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter; the resulting nut butter will be lower in calories and fat, but the difference won’t be quite as impressive.

The flavor of the reconstituted nut butter is deeply peanutty, but I honestly wouldn’t look to this product as a replacement for my morning smear on my whole-grain waffle; the texture and flavor just don’t quite live up. (It’s a little grainy and less rich.) Also, and I think this is an important point: Peanut butter may be calorie dense and high in fat, but it’s mostly heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and satiating, satisfying fat at that—meaning it will help keep you filling fuller, longer. There is nothing wrong with peanut butter.

If you are dieting, though, and really looking to cut calories, this can be a good product for you. But I like to think of it from more of a culinary point of view—how can you use its deep, roasty flavor and powdered texture to benefit your cooking? It does have certain advantages: It doesn’t clump as standard peanut butter might; it incorporates smoothly and easily into smoothies, batters, and more. And it can be used in a similar way as flour. So here are some ideas for delicious ways to use peanut butter powder:

• Stir into plain Greek yogurt or your morning bowl of oats, and swirl in lower-sugar grape jelly. Either one of these PB&J breakfast bowls will take you right back to childhood.

• Add a couple tablespoons to a smoothie or (even better!) a milk shake.

• Substitute up to 1/3 of the flour in your standard pancake or waffle batter for a more protein-packed start to your day.

• Dust your popcorn with it! Combine with a little powdered sugar and salt for a sweet take, or combine with crushed red pepper, salt, and lime rind for more of a savory Thai take.

• Make a 50/50 combo of peanut butter powder and whole-wheat flour, and season with garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and cumin—use this to bread chicken cutlets. Or try this delicious makeover of Sweet and Sour Chicken.

• Incorporate into frosting for cakes or cupcakes. Here I whipped up 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup peanut butter powder, 1 tablespoon softened butter, 1 tablespoon 1% milk, and 3 ounces softened Neufchatel cheese. (This makes enough to lightly top 12 cupcakes—per serving, this PB frosting has 73 calories, 2.8g total fat, and 1.2g sat fat.)

 

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