Vintage Recipes: Peanut Butter Sandwich Fillings

I have a fun little cookbook called “It’s Easy to be a Gourmet with Peanuts and Other Fine Oklahoma Peanut Products.” I can’t tell how old it is, but it looks to date from the 1950s or possibly 1960s. It was compiled and distributed by the Oklahoma Peanut Commission.

This booklet contains many outlandish dishes developed to include peanuts or peanut butter. Some of these recipes I wouldn’t make on a dare, but some sound interesting. The book includes a fun list of peanut butter sandwich fillings that I thought I’d share.

This seems like a great way to keep kids interested in peanut butter sandwiches, or to reimagine a childhood favorite with some new flavors for adult sandwiches. Some of these mixes sound more appetizing than others, but there are definitely some combinations I would never have thought of.

Date: ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup chopped pitted dates, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ½ cup thick salad dressing. Mix lightly.

Pineapple: ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup drained crushed pineapple. Mix lightly.

Prune: ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup chopped cooked prunes, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons prune juice. Blend well.

Apricot: ½ cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup chopped cooked apricots (sweetened), 2 tablespoons thick salad dressing. Mix lightly.

Cranberry Sauce: ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup cranberry sauce. Mix lightly.

Raisin: ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup chopped raisins, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/3 cup milk or cream. Mix lightly.

Pickle Relish: ½ cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup pickle relish, 2 tablespoons thick salad dressing. Blend well.

Carrot and Raisin: ¼ cup peanut butter, ½ cup shredded carrots, 2 tablespoons chopped raisins, 2 tablespoons thick salad dressing. Mix lightly.

Vegetable: ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup chopped celery stalks with leaves, 1/3 up grated carrots, 2 tablespoons French dressing, 1/8 teaspoon salt. Blend well.

Fig-Nut Sandwich: 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 6 large preserved figs chopped fine. Mix and mash to a paste and spread on thinly sliced bread.

Raisin Honey: 1 cup chopped raisins, 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons honey, ¼ cup chopped peanuts. Combine ingredients, mix thoroughly and use as spread on buttered bread.

Cottage Peanut Butter Spread: 1 cup peanut butter, ½ cup cottage cheese, ½ cup chili sauce, ½ teaspoon salt. Cream peanut butter, cottage cheese and chili sauce together then season with salt.

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Add Flair to Halloween Cakes by Starting with Cocoa

Digging around in my stack of ancient cookbooks, I ran across the  Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook. It includes a couple of great Halloween-named cakes — Devil’s Food and Black Magic cake. But before we get into the recipes, I thought it would be nice to share the substitution guidelines Hershey included in this 1979 cookbook.

For baking chocolate: 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon shortening or oil equals 1 square (1 ounce) baking chocolate.

For pre-melted unsweetened chocolate: 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon oil or melted shortening equals 1 envelope (1 ounce) pre-melted unsweetened chocolate.

For semi-sweet chocolate: 6 tablespoons cocoa plus 7 tablespoons sugar plus 1/4 cup shortening equals one 6-ounce package (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips or 6 squares semi-sweet chocolate.

For sweet cooking chocolate: 4 tablespoons cocoa plus 4 2/3 tablespoons sugar plus 2 2/3 tablespoons shortening equals one 4-ounce bar of sweet cooking chocolate.

Why all the fuss about cocoa? It is convenient because you can store it almost indefinitely in the pantry, even after the can has been opened. Also, you can spoon it directly into the mix of your recipe without pre-melting, which saves time and clean-up. Cocoa is also less expensive for cooking, so it’s a money saver.

Devil’s Food Cake

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1/2 cup boiling water

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat well. Combine four, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with buttermilk to create a creamed mixture. Add boiling water and beat until smooth. Pour batter into wax paper-lined 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan and remove waxed paper. Cool completely before frosting.

(To make sour milk, use 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar plus milk to equal 1/2 cup. This is a fine substitute for buttermilk in most recipes.)

Hersheys recommends frosting your Devil’s Foood with Fluffy Vanilla frosting.

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

1/2 cup butter or shortening

5 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 to 5 tablespoons milk

Cream butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating to a spreading consistency. Makes 3 cups of frosting.

Black Magic Cake

1 3/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup strong coffee

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl then add remaining ingredients. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Batter will be thin. Pour into a greased and floured 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely, then frost.