Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cashew Butter and Jam Rice Krispie Treats


I read far too many food blogs and nutrition-oriented material on the web and I'm often reminded of George Carlin's monologue about driving. The one in which he says that there is no one who is EVER going at the 'correct'  speed--except you. Everyone going faster than you is a maniac.  Everyone going slower than you is an idiot.

Similarly with food--everyone who prides him or herself on being a home cook seems to have certain limits that seem obvious to everyone but themselves as to what constitutes 'home-cooked food.'

For some, cake mix is verboten but it's okay to use white hamburger buns so long as you make the tuna salad and the tomato soup.  Packaged cookies=one step away from Sandra Lee, unless they are pulverized into a cheesecake crust, in which all of their processed qualities mysteriously leach out into the food processor and make using the cookies okay. (Yes, I recently made my own, but I didn't make my own marshmallows for the s'mores which some of them metamorphosized into and I know some people who wouldn't dream of using *gasp* store-bought marshmallows).

In food, the analogy is as follows....

Everyone who eats more packaged food than you do and take-out=idiot. 

Everyone who insists on their food to be from scratch/healthy/of a certain expensive brand=maniac.

While I'm a pretty neurotically healthy eater I admit I have my own rules, too.  I would never ingest a Chicken McNugget--ever--while some foodie friends of mine take pride in their ability to 'appreciate' the fries at McDonald's.  However, I know other foodies think I should burn my digital camera because I love picking up an organic rotisserie chicken for dinner. For me, that is okay because it's just plain chicken, with no additives, even if I didn't turn on the oven.

So, my particular brand of Carlinesque thinking is that when I see people getting bad fast food or buying cheap white bread I think 'idiot.'  But when I'm at my yoga studio and someone tries to explain to me how they are 'vegan and 75 percent raw and how we are NATURALLY made to eat all raw foods' (despite the fact that eating raw takes so much expensive equipment), well my eyes start to glaze over and I start to think 'maniac.'

So perhaps I am the idiot (although the reason you think I am likely depends upon your own food barometer of normalcy).

To get away from all of this nonsense sometimes you just need to make a batch of Rice Krispie Treats and call it an evening.

But I have a deep, dark confession that I was hesitant to air in public until this time.

I love cashew butter more than peanut butter.

There, I said it! Of course, I adore peanut butter and have sung its praises on many occasions.  But cashew butter for me is the nut butter that is truly in the territory of 'I could eat the entire jar over the course of the entire day with a spoon.'  I know it sounds very food snobbish, particularly since I buy an organic brand of said nut butter.

Still, I urge you to give it a try.  Anything you can do with peanut butter, you can do with cashew butter.  Only it has an added smokiness and nuance that is even more complex than the best natural peanut butters possess.

Flickr: Like_the_Grand_Canyon
Eat it straight up first, but then use it to make some wonderful, salty not-too-sweet Cashew Krispies to perfectly balance your opposing foodie tendencies.

Of course, you can also make the Krispie treats (or Squares, if you are Canadian) with peanut butter.  Even almond butter.  But that would be a little crazy...

Cashew Butter and Jam Rice Krispie Treats 

--yields 9 large squares--

Ingredients

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) of butter (salted or unsalted)
1/8 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
1/4 cup cashew butter
1 (10 ounce) package of marshmallows or 4 cups mini-marshmallows
5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1/2 cup jam (I used ginger plum jam, but anything tart would work well)


Directions

1. Line a 8-inch square pan with parchment, leaving enough to overlap on the sides.

2. Butter a large saucepan to prevent burning. Brown butter on reduced heat. Add cashew butter.  Slowly add in the marshmallows, reducing the heat to low.  When melted, remove from heat and stir in cereal.  Mixture will be VERY sticky.

3. Mix until all of the cereal is coated.  Press half of mixture into the prepared pan.  With another sheet of parchment, press onto the surface of the treats to flatten.  Top with the jam. Top with the additional cereal mixture. Press firmly with the parchment again. 

4. Cool, remove from the pan and slice into nine squares.



4 comments:

  1. My deep dark confession is that I find natural nut butters distressing. It's the one-inch layer of oil sitting on top that kills it for me. Logically, I know that the unnatural Jif I use has the same amount (or more) of oil mixed in and already congealed in much the same way that it later will in my arteries, but at least I don't have to look at it.

    For me, people who don't stock up on sale items = idiots, and people who have a special coupon wallet = maniacs.

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  2. @Flurrious--the cashew butter doesn't separate like natural peanut butter. Actually, the fat in nuts is 'good' fat, so I wouldn't worry about it. Well, I probably should worry calorie-wise, because I could eat the stuff like ice cream, but if you eat it by the tablespoon like a normal person, I wouldn't worry.

    I agree about the special coupon wallets. Truthfully, they terrify me and whenever I am behind a woman who whips one out, I usually change lanes in the supermarket.

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  3. I just don't know who you are anymore, I thought we were friends.... :)
    Though I think Cashews>Peanuts for snacking, I still enjoy peanut butter over cashew butter or any nut butter really. But to each their own :). Granted I would never turn my nose up at cashew butter, and would happily eat it off a spoon.. but like cashews there is only so much I can eat of it at one time, where as with peanuts and peanut butter I could eat until I explode :).
    And you're so right about the concessions thing, though I try not to judge others because I'll eat pretty much everything and anything, I think the only time I judge is when I find someone who won't try something outside of their comfort zone... that absolutely drives me crazy... then again.. I don't eat bugs... :).

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  4. @Adam--I know! I was afraid you'd say that.

    Now, I do love peanut butter, it's just that cashew butter sets a very high bar. Eating it until I explode is a frighteningly accurate description of my relationship with it.

    And yes, when adults act like three-year-olds about food, it does really bug me. Like people who have never had sushi and won't even try it (although they eat shrimp and tuna in other contexts). Or people who had a bad experience with school Brussels sprouts and won't try delicious, roasted Brussels in balsamic vinaigrette with bacon. It's a totally different experience!

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