Hey folks, happy pancake day!
Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to write a special blog post for my favourite food-based holiday this year.
I wanted to but, when I found out when the event was, I was too ill. In fact, I still am, to an extent.
Not ill enough to impair my brain function, anymore. I can write again but there is one thing that the remnants of my cold still have over me – I can’t trust my sense of taste right now. Or my sense of heat, for that matter.
So, instead of me writing something topical and special, here’s a post I pre-prepared about one or two of my weirder finds. A couple of the more out there products that I promised I’d be showcasing this year.
Today, I have a pair of peanut butters for you:
One comes to us from Edible Ornamentals and the other from Holly and the Ivy but neither use those names on the jars.
While they do so for slightly different reasons, both companies use something of a sub-brand on their butters.
In the case of Edible Ornamentals, their “Nutty Professor” line exists as a punny way to tie together their peanut and cashew butters, along with their assorted nut filled chocolates, into a single sub-range.
It’s represented by the complete madman we see atop the hotter of these two peanut butters. A man with the same egg-shaped head and wild tufts of hair associated with the mad scientist cliché.
He’s clearly balding between these tufts and probably as old as any other stereotypical, inventive professor but his piercings, cool shades and crazy open-mouthed grin showcase the rock and roll party lifestyle of someone far younger. Someone who lives up to the “Xtreme” in the “Peanut Butter Xtreme” name plastered around the sides of this jar.
And the chilli content is subtly implied by the red of that side label and the fiery gradient of his hair.
It doesn’t actually leap out and say “peanut butter” with anything but text and it doesn’t actually say “chilli” at all but I definitely like the labelling on this product all the same.
Holly and the Ivy, however, take the exact opposite approach. The white paper label on the front of their peanut butter doesn’t hold any fancy metaphors or exciting imagery. All we get to see are the actual ingredients – The naga chilli and a pile of peanuts.
It’s a lot less eye catching but it’s also a lot clearer on the contents and, while it does say “Mini Jar Company” on it, they do also sell bigger jars under their main company name.
The Mini Jar Company, with its metallic, cartoon car logo on the lid here, seems to be a set of smaller, sample-sized jars that they advertise as perfect for cafes and hotels.
These jars are meant for businesses that need to provide single servings for hygiene reasons but I picked mine up at Reading Chilli Fest simply to save money.
I wish I hadn’t, though, because it’s a pretty gorgeous peanut butter.
It’s clearly of the crunchy variety, with plenty of whole peanuts strewn throughout, yet it’s also smooth and creamy, thanks to a bit of extra peanut oil that may need to be stirred back in when you first open the jar.
The power of the naga chilli definitely comes across here but it isn’t the full on five out of ten of a ghost pepper sauce. It has been held back to the bottom end of a
by the creamy nature of the product.
This makes it a uniquely long burn, rather than giving you the chilli’s full firepower all at once, and that’s definitely going to make it nice and warming through the winter.
The actual taste of the pepper, however, does little to make itself known. It is there but only as a tiny hint. Mostly, this is just an excellent peanut butter with added burn.
Unlike today’s other product, the Peanut Butter Xtreme:
This one is nothing but smooth and, while it lists only “chilli powder” on its ingredients, you can most certainly taste the carolina reaper in it, along with what I believe to be dorset naga – A pepper closely related to the more famous ghost.
They’re smoother, mellower pepper tastes than your average supers and so they work pretty well with the nutty base, especially when in something like a peanut butter and jam sandwich.
But you’re going to have to spread it thinly if you want to try that because, while it’s just as slow release as the Mini Jar’s, this nut butter still reaches a whopping
If you’re not as great with chilli as I am, I wouldn’t recommend using this as a spread. Hot peanut butter is the sort of burn that you really can’t get rid of if things go wrong.
I like both of these peanut butters but Holly and the Ivy’s is far more of a daily use sort, tasting so good I could just eat it out the jar, while Edible Ornamentals’ crazy one would be far more fitting as an ingredient or for when you feel like pushing your limits a little over lunch.
The smooth texture of the Xtreme peanut butter particularly lends itself to use in soups or stews, much like in my scotch bonnet and sweet potato one, thickening them up and adding a great, creamy richness. As well as, of course, plenty of firepower.
But that isn’t to say that you couldn’t, if you wanted, make a great satay out of the milder of this pair.
In fact, while it seems almost mean to say so, I think the mini jar wins out for me.
It may be the one where the chilli adds least, since its main flavour by far is the peanuts, but it’s texture is a perfect balance of creamy and crunchy and it has a great taste to match.
There’s not much in it, though. I love both of today’s products and, since they fill slightly different roles at wildly different heats, I can’t really recommend one over the other.
It is very much a matter of personal preference but, as long as you know what you’re in for, I’d be surprised if either of these disappoints.
Before I go, mind you, there is one last thing for me to mention – The ingredients lists for the pair:
Holly and the Ivy’s Mini Jar Company Naga Peanut Butter: Peanuts (86%), Sugar (8.6%), Peanut Oil (3.2%), Naga Chilli (1.7%), Salt (0.9%)
Edible Ornamentals’ Nutty Professor Peanut Butter Xtreme: Roasted Peanuts (Salt, Palm Oil, Sunflower Oil), Chilli Powder.
*While this rating was accurate at the time of writing, it seems that, along with new jars, Edible Ornamentals have also changed the recipe of their nut butter recently. It’s now worthy only of a 2.5/10 and retains none of its mellow chilli flavour. I really cannot recommend it anymore.