Sunday, June 22, 2008

Reinventing the wheel

I love peanut butter and graham cracker sandwiches dunked in milk. I hadn't ever paid much attention to my ingredients, buying whatever was cheapest in the grocery store, though I do prefer a crunchy peanut butter over creamy in nearly all situations. So I wondered -- if I bought a higher-end peanut butter, like Cream-Nut (which I recently read was considered one of the best peanut butters being sold today) and a really fancy graham cracker, would my experience enjoying a peanut butter and graham cracker snack become something transcendent?


I made myself sick

The Players:


C = Cream-Nut Natural Peanut Butter. Rich, superior peanut flavor. Thin, grainy texture. Oil and peanuts separate easily.

S = Extra-Crunchy Skippy. Pleasing sweetness. Spreadable, thick, chunky texture. Never needs stirring.

K = Keebler grahams [sic] crackers. Too sweet, slightly stale or cardboardy texture (I wish I had some Honey Maid. Those are better). Soften too quickly when dipped in milk. Taste cheap.

M = Mi-Del 100% Whole Wheat Honey Grahams. Great crunch. A little thicker and more like a cookie than a cracker. Definite sweetness (From honey and unsulphured molasses). Wheatinesss comes through. Does not soften enough when dipped for a few seconds in milk. A little too much chewing necessarily.

Now I really wish I had Honey Maid Graham Crackers. But we're going forward, not backward!


The Equations:


S + K = peanuts and graham crackers play nicely against each other, with peanut butter thickness really coming through. Slightly dissatisfying cardboardy graham flavor lurks. Not quite enough crunch. Add milk: good softening. Peanut butter helps the graham hold up. Milk saturates correctly. Very comforting, smooth snack with crunching of peanut pieces.

S + M = too crumbly. Begins to fall apart at first bite. Cracker overpowers the peanut butter. Add milk: no better. Now, somehow, there is no sweetness. It's just thick, thick, thick. This cracker is much better with nothing on it. I needed a lot of milk to wash this down.

C + K - I like the natural peanut butter flavor and the thinner, wet peanut butter. The Cream-Nut almost melts into the graham cracker, which is lovely. Add milk: the milk shines in this combo. Great milk flavor coming through. The peanut butter is nice, but it allows the stale aftertaste of the cracker to penetrate. Good mouth-feel, though.

C + M - dry, dry dry! Add milk: slightly wet on the outside. No flavor on the inside. I threw the rest away. This is not right.


Conclusions:


1. The Cream-Nut peanut butter is delicious, probably great with jellies and jams on sandwiches, and would be nice to cook with. It's not bad on a graham cracker, but I need to try it on the Honey Maid Graham to see if that's the real answer. I suspect it is.

2. I'm not buying Keebler graham crackers anymore.

3. The Mi-Del cracker does taste fancy, but it's too fancy for the humble snack I enjoy. I think I'd be more inclined to eat this cracker plain, or with some kind of soft cheese or homemade jam.

4. Extra-Crunchy Skippy is still my go-to peanut butter, especially if M+R buy me the big jars at Costco (I'll pay you back!). It's lower priced and has nice, big chunks of peanut. I like the thick, spreadable texture and non-separating oil. What can I say? Sometimes I'm a traditionalist, and natural peanut butter is not the peanut butter of my childhood. Still, I don't feel loyal to Skippy as a brand, so I remain open to other peanut butter suggestions.

2 comments:

MC Aaron said...

extra crunchy skippy is the best.

i would've liked to have seen this experiment being performed.

Jennette said...

I did feel a little ill afterwards. That might have been entertaining.

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