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Voters select best regional peanut butter recipes in America

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The votes are in from the PB My Way "United States of Peanut Butter" contest. The contest, conducted during March 2014 by the Southern Peanut Growers Association, invited people around the country to submit their favorite regional peanut butter recipes.

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“We called on residents nationwide to celebrate our ‘United States of Peanut Butter’ by sharing their favorite PB-powered recipes,” said Leslie Wagner, executive director for Southern Peanut Growers. “After receiving recipe submissions from coast-to-coast, the top five semi-finalists in each region were put out to the public to pick their favorites. In America’s kitchens, our local food traditions may be unique, and our culinary preferences may be diverse, but we have a common bond: love for peanut butter.”

From Nutty Jalapeño-Chicken Stuffed Peppers in the Southwest to PB and Chocolate Bars in the Northeast, our nation is filled with diverse, delicious peanut butter-packed dishes that reflect regional palates.

Based on popular vote, The Best Hometown Peanut Butter Recipes in America are:

Nutty Jalapeño-Chicken Stuffed Peppers
Grand Prize and Southwest Region Winner
Submitted by: Lori McLain, Denton, Texas

12 large jalapeño peppers, split open (but not all the way through) and seeded
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
3-ounce package cooked bacon pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup crushed cornflakes

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place peppers in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water 2 minutes. Drain and pat dry. In a medium bowl, mix together the peanut butter, chicken, bacon and cheese. Fill each jalapeño with the mixture. Smear each pepper with a little mayonnaise and roll in the cornflakes in a shallow dish to cover. Place jalapeño on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Easy PB & J Breakfast Tarts
Western Region Winner
Submitted by: Susan Mason, Des Moines, Wash.

Makes 8 - 3”x5” Tarts

2 cups all-purpose flour + more for rolling
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup shortening
6 tablespoons peanut butter + 4 heaping teaspoons for filling (1/2 tsp. per tart)
1/2 cup cold water
5 tablespoons jam (strawberry works well)

Drizzle Option #1
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon jam
1 tablespoon milk

Drizzle Option #2
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon strawberry extract, optional
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl mix together flour, whole wheat flour, sugar and sea salt.

Using a pastry cutter, cut-in shortening and peanut butter, until mixture resembles small peas. Drizzle mixture with cold water until mixture is moist and holds together.

Roll out on a floured surface to at least 1/16th of an inch thickness. Using a 3”x5” index (recipe) card for a template, cut into 16, 3”x5”shapes. Re-rolling works just fine for this. In the middle of 8 shapes, smear a 1/2 heaping teaspoon of peanut butter and a heaping teaspoon of jam on top. Be careful not to go to the edges. Using your fingers wet the edges with water and place another piece of pastry on top. Press all sides well, and using a fork press all the edges to secure. Using a fork, gently poke the tops in four places so steam can escape. Place an inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 13 to 14 minutes until starting to brown around edges. Cool on a rack. Whisk together the drizzle of your choice in a small bowl. Drizzle over cooled tarts.

Note: This pastry is very user friendly and delicate. Freeze tarts up to one month and defrost at room temperature before serving.

After School Peanut Butter Apple Pie
Midwestern Region Winner
Submitted by: Alisa Link, Des Moines, Iowa

Prepared pie crust

Filling:
7 apples, peeled cored and sliced
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Crumble:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour

Directions:
Place the crust in a 9" pie pan and crimp the edges. Use dried beans to weigh down the bottom. Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.

Mix all of the filling ingredients together and put in the crust.

Using your hands, mix the crumble ingredients until they are in pea-sized pieces. Top the apples with the crumble. Don't worry if your pie is sky-high, the apples will cook down and your pie will be perfectly proportioned.

Bake at 350 F for 40-50 minutes. Keep the edges covered with foil until the last 15 minutes.

Garnish with chopped peanuts.

Carolina Dreaming Appetizer Meatballs
Southeastern Region Winner
Submitted by: Janice Elder, Charlotte, N.C.

Yield: 24 meatballs, about 8 servings

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup fig preserves
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
4 green onions, finely chopped (including green tops)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
Optional garnishes: diced green onion tops and/or chopped parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 F. Whisk together the peanut butter, preserves, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice until well blended; add ginger, black and red pepper, mixing well. Reserve.

Place approximately half of the peanut butter mixture into a mixing bowl (reserve remainder for later use); add turkey, green onions, parsley, egg and salt to the mixing bowl and mix lightly but thoroughly. Roll mixture into 1” balls and place 1” apart on lightly greased, rimmed baking sheet.

Place into oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the tops of the meatballs with the remaining peanut butter mixture. Return the pan to the oven and bake for about 5 to 8 minutes more, or until nicely browned. Remove from oven.

Arrange on a serving plate and sprinkle with diced green onion tops and/or parsley, if desired. Looks nice with decorative toothpicks placed in each meatball for easy consumption.

Pennsylvania PB & C Bars
Northeastern Region Winner
Submitted by: Victoria Zmarzley-Hahn, Northampton, Pa.

Crust:
1 cup melted butter
2 cups peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Topping:
1 1/2 tubs chocolate frosting
1 cup peanut butter, melted
1 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, mix butter, peanut butter, sugars, salt, eggs and vanilla until well mixed. Add flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly. Spread on a 10”x15”x2” ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool before adding topping. Spread frosting over crust. Drizzle melted peanut butter over chocolate. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top of peanut butter and chocolate. Let set until topping is firm. You can refrigerate cookie sheet to speed firming process, if desired. Cut into desired size bars.

Southern Peanut Growers is a non-profit trade association representing peanut farmers in Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. The organization educates American consumers about the U.S. peanut industry and its products.

Your family will love these fun peanut butter-packed recipes. For their participation, each regional winner receives a year’s supply of peanut butter. The grand prize winner also receives a new iPad.

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