4 healthy peanut butter treats to try

Sunrise Senior Living  |  November 16, 2016
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Peanut butter makes a tasty treat.

But it isn't only a delicious snack. It's also rich in antioxidants, protein and other nutrients, making it a healthy addition to a well-balanced diet. What better way to reap the benefits than by whipping up a new healthy dessert? Consider one - or all - of these tasty treats:

1. Pumpkin Peanut Butter French Toast
 This recipe from Shape magazine makes the perfect Fall breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered peanut butter, or regular peanut butter
  • 1/2 ripe peach - thinly sliced
  • 1 whole wheat sandwich thin, or 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Nutmeg to taste
  • Syrup for serving

Directions:

First, combine pumpkin puree and peanut butter in a small bowl. Set aside.

Next, whisk the egg white and pumpkin pie spice in a separate bowl until fully combined.

Dip each sandwich thin in egg white mixture, submerging until well saturated. 

Place each sandwich thin, one at a time, in a pan over medium heat and cook, flipping once the egg mixture has set. Continue heating until well-done, then repeat with remaining piece.

Transfer one slice to the plate and top with peanut butter pumpkin mixture. Add a layer of peach slices and top with the second sandwich thin. Sprinkle with nutmeg and finish with syrup.

2. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
These cookies from Health magazine are only 132 calories per serving.

This guilt-free recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth.This guilt-free recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
  • 1 cup natural chunky peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter - softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

Heat your oven to 375 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Place oats in a food processor, pulsing until finely ground. Gradually add sugar and cherries to the mix and pulse until coarse.

In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter and butter, beating with an electric mixer until it reaches a light and fluffy consistency. 

Gradually add eggs, vanilla and salt and continue to beat until smooth.

Slowly incorporate flour and then use your hands to mix the dough.

Roll dough into balls by the tablespoon and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Using a fork, flatten the cookie horizontally and vertically to leave a crisscross imprint. 

Place in the oven and bake until cookies have lightly browned - this should take about 12 minutes.

Remove from pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.

3. Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Covered Dates
Loaded with an abundance of vitamins, dates are one of the healthiest snacks you can get your hands on. So why not add some peanut butter for an even better treat? You'll love this recipe by food blog Shiny Happy Bright.

Ingredients:

  • 15 Medjool dates
  • 15 tsp. peanut butter
  • 3.5 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
Chop pistachios for a vibrant and delicious coating.Chop pistachios for a vibrant and delicious coating.

Directions:

First, prepared a cooking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.

Then, cut the dates down the center - lengthwise - to remove the pit. 

Next, fill each date half with 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter. Set aside.

In the meantime, spread the pistachios and almonds out on a cutting board. You can mix the two or leave them separated.

Place the dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 10-second increments until completely melted. 

Dip a half slice in melted chocolate and roll in the pistachio and almond mixture. Place on the prepared parchment paper and repeat process until all dates are ready.

Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 20 minutes. Enjoy! 
                                                                   
4. Healthy No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Need to satisfy a sweet tooth in a hurry? This recipe from Food Network is decadent yet low in fat and requires no baking.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 24 chocolate wafer cookies
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter - melted
  • 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate - melted

For the filling:

  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup 2 percent Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Kosher salt to taste

Directions:

Prepare an 8-inch square pan with foil so it overhangs. Grease with non-stick cooking spray.

To make your crust, place chocolate wafers in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Gradually add melted butter and chocolate until mixture reaches a coarse, sand-like consistency.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press evenly into dish with a spatula. Cover and refrigerate.

In the meantime, clean out the food processor to prepare the filling. Add the cream cheese, peanut butter, yogurt and sugar to the machine and mix until smooth. 

Remove crust from refrigerator and pour mixture on top of it, smoothing it out with a spatula. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and kosher salt if desired.

Cover and place back into the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, loosen the edge of the mixture with a knife and lift foil to release. Cut into 12 bars.