REVIEW: The Peanut Principle’s “Going Green” Pistachio Butter

I’m a nut butter nut, and when it comes to creamy, fatty, crave able jars of spreadable protein I’m always down to try something new.  I’ve had many types of pulverized nuts in my days, including Trader Joes’ great Mixed Nut version, but never have I had or seen a pistachio butter…and the times, they are a changin’.  The Peanut Principle are a gourmet nut butter company from New York, making buttery goodness out of nearly every kind of nut from plain and flavored peanut to hazelnut, walnut, macadamia, pumpkin seed, and lots more.  I ordered a huge sampling of peanut butters last year and was overall very impressed, so when they announced pistachio I had to jump on the opportunity.  Going Green is a creamy pistachio butter that’s as basic as it gets, with the lone ingredient being organic dry roasted pistachios – no salt, no sugar, no BS.

image1
The taste of this butter is everything the look of the jar promised – pure, rich, thick, intense pistachio.  It’s a very unique-to-the-green-nut-flavor that is deep and roasty, slightly sweet, and cleanly fatty.  The texture is insanely thick but less lip-smackingly mouth-drying than peanut butter tends to be, which I think might be due to the lack of salt.  Despite the absence of saltiness there’s no lack of pop, as the nuts themselves pack a big wallop of flavor that needs little help to be incredibly robust and huge.

image2
On toast the flavor becomes a bit more subdued and blends in with the bread well.  Some of the richness mellows but the sweet flavor of the pistachio stays intact.  As good as that flavor is, I didn’t think the butter offered as much as a traditional peanut butter or salted butter so I tried it with cinnamon and sugar, which still was just okay, and then strawberries, which also were just alright.  I could see this being tasty spread on some pancakes, dolloped onto some vanilla ice cream, or used in conjunction with some pistachio pieces to make a killer stuffed french toast.

image3

image4
Make no mistake, this is a premium product, and at $11.99 for an eight ounce jar it’s four times the cost of a regular peanut butter, even from a gourmet company like Peanut Principle, whose sixteen ounce jar of regular PB goes for $5.99.  It may be expensive, but it absolutely delivers on what it set out to do, and packs the punch of what feels like hundreds of pistachio’s into a small glass jar.  Pistachio’s aren’t one of my favorite nuts, but if you’re a fiend for the little green guys, this stuff will send your morning bread into hyperdrive, or be a perfect pick-me-up straight from the jar, without the hassle of shells.

Rating: 8/10
Found at: http://www.peanutprinciple.com ($11.99)

Quick Nutrition: 2 Tbsp. – 160 cals – 13g fat – 3mg sodium – 8g carbs – 2g fiber – 2g sugar – 6g protein

Advertisements

REVIEW: Little G’s That Peanut Butter Brownie Dough

If you love ice cream and you don’t know about Little G it’s time to learn about the internet-driven gourmet ice cream movement.  What Grace is doing out of her small commercial kitchen in Massachusetts is not only delicious but insanely fun.  Late last year she asked fans to submit flavor ideas for a run of seasonal pints to start 2017 and one of the winning suggestions was That Peanut Butter Brownie Dough, which is her own spin on the Ben & Jerry’s 2014 limited batch Peanut Butter Half Baked.  The flavor combines chocolate and peanut butter ice creams with brownies and peanut butter cookie dough chunks.  Are you awake yet?

image1
Wow.  Sometimes the apprentice surpasses the master and that skill set is on perfect display in this pint.  The peanut butter ice cream has a very genuine nuttiness to it that isn’t very sweet, but isn’t salty either.  The peanut flavor comes through in a soft yet rich way that has just enough character to stand up to the chocolate, which is velvety smooth and has cocoa notes somewhere between milk and dark – not quite bitter but not too heavily leaning on milky-ness.  It’s hard to get two separate ice cream bases to work harmoniously in one flavor and these two are a lovely brown and tan yin and yang.

image2

image3

image6
The mix in density is absolutely spot on.  While the ice creams have a chance to shine with their melty mouthfeel and subdued sweetness, the real star of this show is the fudgey as all hell scratch made brownies.  These are the best brownies I have ever had in an ice cream, and are firm enough to be solid chunks but have maintained all of their fresh-out-of-the-oven squishy chew that make brownies unique from cookies.  They are sweeter than either of the bases which elevates the flavor to a whole new level of eyes closed brilliance.  When I get a bite with chocolate ice cream and brownie together the taste transforms into a decadent richness that reminds me of chocolate cheesecake and is over the top with indulgent intensity.

image7

This is an entire chunk of flawless brownie

The only thing holding this pint back from being absolutely perfect is the peanut butter cookie dough.  While the dough is still really good, I wish it had a little bit more dough-y butteriness and rich peanut flavor to really stand out against the other three very strong components.  The chunks are big and succulent but missing a little something, I think a touch more salt, to really drive the experience into something transcendent.  Even though I wanted a bit more pop from the dough, I still found myself gleefully excited having a piece of unbaked cookie that took up nearly my entire spoon.  Eating Little G is a completely different experience of ice cream exploration and this was a fantastic journey.

Rating: 9.5/10
Found at: http://www.goldbely.com

Note: This flavor can’t be purchased anymore but on May 1 Little G will be announcing their next line of limited flavors and you never know what Grace may have whipped up this time.  If it’s your first order from Goldbely use code seanpancake0 to get $25 off!!

image5

REVIEW: Haagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Salted Fudge

Peanut butter and chocolate.  One of the greatest flavor combinations known to man and no stranger to the magical melty world of ice cream.  It’s that hard to top yin and yang of sweet and salty and creamy and fatty that ultimately just equates to yummy and delicious.  As many times as companies have put their own stamp on the classic team up, we’re seventeen years into the 21st century and STILL getting new takes.  Brand new for this year, Haagen-Dazs try another spin on the sweet treat all star with Peanut Butter Salted Fudge, which combines peanut butter ice cream with chocolate covered peanuts and a salted fudge swirl.

image1
The peanut butter ice cream is smooth and sweet with a notable salty shine that immediately reminds me of biting into the iconic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  Despite trying to emulate peanut butter, the base itself isn’t too heavy or dense and has a very nice light and creamy mouthfeel that is neither too soft or dense.

image2

The salted fudge ribbons help aid in the execution of the light yet decadent experience in that they start with a sweet cocoa flavor and finish with a strong saltiness that lingers with a little dance on my tongue.  The ribbon is mostly integrated throughout in thin sheets which gives most bites a much more chocolate peanut butter flavor than pure peanut butter, with neither flavor becoming too dominant over the other.  There are occasional larger chunks of the salted chocolate that deliver a quick burst of sweetness before melting away and beg me to keep on digging.

image3
As good as the other two components are, the real star of the show here is the chocolate covered peanuts.  I don’t think I’ve ever had chocolate covered peanuts in ice cream before and I’ll be damned if I don’t feel like I’ve been robbed of an incredible mix in for nearly 30 years of my life.  The peanuts have kept all the snap and crunch that makes them such an undeniable snack and work in perfect harmony with the ribbons and cream to emulate the frozen experience of eating the world’s best chocolate cup.  The flavor and texture immediately reminds me of Hershey’s Mr. Goodbar and all the elements combined taste exactly like Mr. Goodbar seduced a fine young Mrs. Reese’s and spawned the baby that is Peanut Butter Salted Fudge.

image4

This new release from Haagen-Dazs isn’t reinventing the wheel by any means but it delivers a fantastic take on chocolate peanut butter that is a welcome addition to a freezer aisle with many variations on the classic combo.

Rating: 8/10
Found at: Safeway

REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Mixed Nut Butter

Who doesn’t love a good handful of mixed nuts?  Each reach inside of the jar or bowl is much like our buddy Gump would say and you “never know what you’re gonna get”.  Whether salty or sweet or straight up plain, mixed nuts earn praise from health freaks, beer guzzling bar goers, and those who just like a good crunch for their afternoon snack.  So why hasn’t anyone pulverized them all and shoved the mixture into a jar?  Welcome Trader Joe’s to the equation.  In addition to their already packed line of butters – from the heralded cookie to the classic peanut, TJ’s is now slangin’ Mixed Nut Butter, which combines dry roasted and salted almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and pecans into a gooey runny treat to spread up your life.

image1

The butter has an extremely smooth and creamy consistency.  Right after mixing and out of the jar it is thin, runny, and oily in a way that is tempting to want to drizzle it all over any and everything.  The texture is very unique – much similar in appearance and initial feeling to almond butter except not nearly as thick or grainy.  The primary flavors that come through are almond and cashew with some hints of pecans and brazil nuts.  I don’t specifically taste the hazelnuts, but I’m okay with that because they’re generally my least favorite and most astringent tasting in any mixed nut variety, and I can’t pinpoint the flavor of walnuts either.  The salt level is perfect – not so much that the butter tastes salty, but just enough that the spread pops and shines on its own to highlight the complexity of all the different components.

image2

After leaving the mixed butter in the fridge for a couple days I was surprised that it didn’t seize up and become firmer the way almost all other nut butters do.  It was slightly more together than when I first opened it but it stayed thin and runny enough that it could still be poured onto food (or into your mouth) straight from the jar.  After cooling I also noticed the pecan notes to be more pronounced, which isn’t a bad thing at all since they provide a great golden richness that amps up the overall flavor on this unique product.

image4

For the final test: the butter goes good on top of toast, but it doesn’t achieve the same ultimate magical combo with banana that peanut butter does.  I’ve always preferred peanut butter to all other types of nut butter, and while this mixed one is fun and well done, it doesn’t change my mind on which nut makes the champion butter.  It’s fun and tasty, but factoring in flavor, cost, and macros, I think I’ll stick with my one true nut butter love – the peanut.

Rating: 8/10

REVIEW: Baskin Robbins Reese’s 3-Pointer

Everyone has their favorite things, and for me, three of the greatest achievements of man are basketball, ice cream, and peanut butter.  As beautiful as all of these elements of life are on their own it’s not too often that all of them come together.  Sure, peanut butter is great in ice cream, and Reese’s will release occasional limited cups in tandem with the NBA or NCAA, but for all three of these things to combine into one is something of pure magic; and in tandem with March Madness Baskin Robbins is making my dreams a reality with their newest flavor of the month – Reese’s 3-Pointer.  This made-for-Sean E scoop combines Reese’s Pieces candies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a Reese’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate ribbon all swimming in a sea of chocolate ice cream.

image1
The chocolate ice cream is your standard affair – a smooth light milk chocolate that isn’t over the top sweet, bitter, or remarkably rich.  It’s much more basic than the chocolate fudge base Baskin Robbins have at their disposal, and while it isn’t a bad base ice cream it’s definitely the most underwhelming aspect of this scoop.

image2
The mix ins utilized here are a real treat for those with a love for the PB cup and the most dominant of them is the chocolate peanut butter ribbon.  The ribbon has a smooth, almost flaky texture that reminds me of a soft serve cone that has been dipped in a chocolate shell with the way that it melts on the tongue.  It’s a solid peanut butter-infused chocolate, and with the Reese’s spread being the second ingredient on the list it’s no surprise how powerful the flavor comes through.  it does a great job of boosting up the ice cream and weaving the Reese’s profile into nearly every bite.

image4
The Reese’s Pieces are a bit of a miss in this format; they freeze pretty hard and lose all of their signature creamy and oiliness that makes them a movie theater staple.  The chunks of peanut butter cup are the best part of this flavor and pop with the nutty saltiness you know and love, working with the ribbon to really shine against the mellow chocolate base.

image3
The coolest part about this flavor is that it is literally like eating an ice cream version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup.  While many flavors will utilize chocolate and peanut butter (like BR’s own great Peanut Butter ‘N Chocolate) or peanut butter cups as a mix in, this one eats liked the beloved Hershey’s classic turned into a frozen scoop-able dessert and is a treat for Reese’s lovers like myself.  While it’s a couple of execution points away from a full on alley oop, it’s a damn fine flavor that most people will be happy stuffing their nutritional stat sheet with.

Rating: 8/10

REVIEW: Nuts ‘N More Chocolate Maple Pretzel

In my life peanut butter is a food group.  Whether it be smooth or crunchy, salted or unsalted, plain or flavored – peanut butter has a luxuriously addictive and delicious texture that I go to town on with just a spoon and a jar on a regular basis.  There comes a point in every PB-addicts life when reducing some of the fat and increasing the amount of protein simply makes sense, and it is with that mentality that brands like Nuts ’N More flourish – off of nut butter fiends seeking ways to justify their addiction.  At the end of last year I ordered one of the company’s newest flavors – Chocolate Maple Pretzel – and hoarded it until the moment was just right.  Well friends, the moment is now, and it feels (and hopefully tastes) oh so sweet.

image1
I guess it should come as no surprise that a product that combines three of my favorite flavors into one (put cinnamon in there and I might die) is tasty, but this nutty spread exceeded even my own expectations.  The aroma is spot on chocolate covered pretzel, with that salty sweetness accented by cocoa and rounded out beautifully by maple and yeast.  It’s like dunking your head into a bag of chocolate covered pretzels with just a drizzle of maple syrup on top, and it is divine.  The other Nuts ’N More spreads I’ve had have a kind of protein-y almost artificial peanut butter smell to them, and this one has none of that, which is really appealing.

image2
The flavor of this stuff is absolutely through the roof.  The peanut butter base has been perfectly integrated with chocolate chips that blended themselves into a smooth brown color as I mixed.  There are big chunks of actual pretzel that crunch and pop with salty explosions that set off the chocolate and peanut butter to brilliant new heights.  The use of real, gluten free pretzels is executed flawlessly, as they’ve maintained their texture and add a different kind of depth to this butter than any other I’ve had before, and they didn’t skimp on them either.  Maple is the least dominant of the flavors but it’s definitely present and its role is cherished, adding a little extra sweetness that enhances the bready flavor of the pretzels; and a little kiss of that Sunday morning magic that comes along with anything that registers “syrup” in my brain.

image3

Check out the pretzel sticks in there – my GOODNESS!

What’s most impressive about eating this spread is if I didn’t tell you there was some extra protein punch from whey you would have no idea because there is no fake flavor or grainy texture to be found.  The chocolate and maple do a tremendous job of masking any unpleasant or artificial notes that can come through in low sugar high protein products and the flavor is not only convincing but deliciously addictive for any flavored peanut butter.  It is without a doubt the best Nuts ’N More release I have tried and is up there with D’s Natural’s best Fluffbutter flavors in battling for the protein butter title.  This jar literally lasted me three days – I simply could not stop eating it.  It’s salty, it’s sweet, and dare I say I think it might be perfect.

Rating: 10/10

Quick Nutrition:
2 TBS – 182 Cals – 11g Fat – 9g Carbs – 2g Fiber – 2g Sugar 11g Protein – 138mg Sodium

REVIEW: Doughbar Doughnuts (feat. Junk Banter Variety Pack)

Doughbar Doughnuts are a Bay Area based company cranking out made to order protein packed baked donuts with a slew of fun and limited offering toppings and variety packs shipped straight to your door.  Their goal is to offer a macro-friendly alternative to the often frowned upon fried treat that is versatile, healthy, and delicious all at the same time.  The un-dressed donuts, including the hole, clock in at 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbs, 3 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.  You can order the donuts with no toppings, or, more commonly, with toppings packaged individually that you put on yourself in whatever fashion you’d like.  For my first run with Doughbar I ordered the Junk Banter variety pack, which included four donuts and toppings for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Cookie Monster (Chips Ahoy/Oreo), Cinnamon with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Nutella with Kit Kat pieces.

image1

The naked base flavor of a Doughbar Doughnut is relatively plain with a yeasty whole wheat bounce, slight sweetness, and a hint of cinnamon.  The texture is more like a bagel than a donut, with an eggy dense inside that is neither super delicious or offensive.  Since they are baked and not fried there is no outside crisp or greasiness, and as with most donuts, “real” or otherwise, most of the flavor comes from the toppings.  The success of the doughnuts themselves varied based not only on the toppings but the actual bake itself.  Since they’re all individually made I found some of them to be a little bit thinner and darker with a tougher, less-dount-y texture, and some of them to be fluffier and lighter in color, which much more closely resembled a true donut.

image2

image3

The experience of putting the doughnuts together is pretty damn fun.  They arrive in a nostalgia-laden pink box with each component clearly labeled and packaged so you can truly choose your own destiny.  All of the toppings have their own nutritional information provided, and while the icing containers looked really small to me at first, they actually do provide enough to piece together a pretty tasty breakfast treat.

image4
I enjoyed all of the doughnuts that I got but by far my favorite was the Nutella with Kit Kat crumbles.  I’m not sure if it was the slight nuttiness in the glaze or the luck of the fluff on that particular ‘nut but it gave me the most satisfying donut fix of them all.  My least favorite was very surprisingly the Reese’s-inspired peanut butter one, because I felt it just didn’t have enough authentic peanut butter flavor.  Luckily, I had a couple of extra naked donuts and put together my own decadent masterpiece using their classic doughnut glaze, crunchy peanut butter, and banana.

image5

PB Banana Doughnut: 320 Cals/10g Fat/11g Sugar/30g Carbs/15g Protein

All in all, are Doughbar Doughnuts better than one from your local shop or Krispy Kreme?  Nah.  But are they a fun switch up from a protein bar or shake or carb-heavy weekend breakfast?  Most certainly.  The ability to customize and switch things up on the go is definitely a plus and I look forward to ordering again when time and money will allow.  Hopefully this small creative company can get wider distribution and/or a brick and mortar location so we can all “eat more hole foods” on the regular.

Rating: 8/10