All Things Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter guru Lee Zalben shares recipes from his new book, "The Peanut Butter & Co. Cookbook."

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bread Pudding

When I think comfort food, I think bread pudding, and I think of this dessert as the ultimate bread pudding for the peanut butter and chocolate lover. This is the perfect way to end a meal on a cold wintry day, and the leftovers are great the following day! Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Enough for six.


12 slices brioche or challah, at least 1 day old

1 ½ cups Dark Chocolate Dreams™ peanut butter

2 cups light cream

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs


1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with unsalted butter.

2. Make 6 sandwiches with the bread and peanut butter using ¼ cup of peanut butter in each. Cut each sandwich into 6 to 8 pieces. Pile the sandwich pieces into the prepared baking dish.

3. In a small saucepan, combine the cream, salt, and vanilla and cook over medium heat until hot. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs. Slowly add the hot cream mixture, stirring constantly to make sure the eggs do not cook. Pour the mixture over the bread and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil after about 20 minutes. The finished pudding will be golden brown on top. Allow the pudding to rest for at least ten minutes before serving.

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies


2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 ¼ cups Smooth Operator peanut butter

1 cup vegetable shortening

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

Makes 3 dozen cookies


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

3. In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the peanut butter, shortening, and vanilla. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar — mix until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing until well combined. Add the dry ingredients, ½ cup at a time, mixing until the dough is firm.

4. Use a teaspoon to make 1-inch balls of dough and set them 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using a fork, press down on each cookie twice, making a crisscross pattern on the top of the cookie.

5. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.



For the brownies:

½ cup flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3 ounces (1/2 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

For the peanut butter topping:

½ cup Smooth Operator™ peanut butter

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

½ cup brown sugar

1 large egg

¼ cup flour

Makes 12 brownies


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish. Dust the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

2. To make the brownie batter, in a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt and set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the butter, chocolate chips, and vanilla and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar, stirring quickly until well incorporated. Set aside and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.

4. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, stirring constantly to avoid cooking the eggs. Fold in the dry ingredients and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

5. To make the peanut butter topping, in a medium saucepan over low heat, stir in the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar until smooth. Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the egg, stirring quickly. Fold in the flour.

6. Pour the peanut butter topping over the brownie batter. Using a butter knife, cut a series of lines horizontally and vertically through the batters to make a crisscross pattern. Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk.



4 stalks celery

¼ cup Smooth Operator or Crunch Time peanut butter

½ cup raisins

Makes 1 to 2 servings


1. Wash and clean the celery. Trim it into 4-inch long pieces.

2. Using a butter knife, fill the celery with peanut butter, wiping any excess off the sides.

3. Arrange the filled celery pieces on a serving plate and place a line of individual raisins on the peanut butter.