PB2, How I Love You!

I'd seen it around the blogosphere -- the tale of a peanut product that was delicious, low in calories and fat, and versatile. What is this strange peanutty phenomenon? It's PB2, the powdered peanut butter! I'm not sure what exactly the rational behind the name is, but here's what the makers of PB2, Bell Plantation, Inc., have to say about their product:
  • PB2 is made with premium quality peanuts that are slow-roasted to our specifications and pressed to remove the fat.

  • All natural with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.

  • Same consistency as full-fat peanut butter with all of the roasted peanut flavor, but with more than 85% less fat calories.

I finally decided to try some PB2 after hearing some positive reviews from fellow bloggers. Here's the deal. PB2 is a powdered peanut made from roasted peanuts, salt, and sugar that comes in two flavors, regular and chocolate. Two Tablespoons of powder should be mixed with one Tablespoon of water to yield a creamy serving that contains only 53.2 calories.

What?! Peanut butter that has a quarter of standard peanut butter? Doesn't it compensate on texture/flavor/nutrition? That's certainly what I wondered. After trying both the regular and chocolate flavors, here's my take on PB2.

First of all, the powder really does mix up to be quite creamy. I was dubious that the powder could ever even slightly resemble peanut butter. However, it transformed fairly legitimately and without having to tweak the directions at all. The texture of both PB2 varieties satisfied me.

The taste, however, of the regular PB2 leaves something to be desired. It tastes quite good (as does the chocolate -- yum!) -- but it doesn't really taste like regular peanut butter. The regular flavor also leaves something of an aftertaste. The chocolate was totally yummy, although probably not a true chocolate peanut butter taste. Like I have Amanda of Run to the Finish writes, PB2 tastes like icing that's good for you. And, like her, I can't argue with that!

What about nutrition? While it's true that PB2 is far lower in calories and fat than regular peanut butters, it also is much higher in carbs and sugars. The wonderful protein punch that you get in normal peanut butter is absent in PB2, which provides less than 6 grams of protein per serving. This product doesn't have fabulous staying power as a result, but still wouldn't be a bad choice for those looking to lose weight and might want a more harmless peanut butter fix.

So, PB2, even though you're not as protein-ful as I'd like, and not-quite-peanut-butter, I love you. You're super tasty, low in fat, and fun to add to things. Let me count the ways that I've tried PB2 so far:

In a microwaved pumpkin pie. Mix 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup egg replacer, 2 T PB2 (I used chocolate!), vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl, then microwave for 2-3 minutes. I think I like my pie better without the PB2, although it might be better spread on top after cooking.

Topping some cereal. These are Peanut Butter Puffins -- yum!

Mixed with sliced bananas. I used chocolate PB2, and this tasted fabulous.

And, my favorite way to eat PB2 (especially the chocolate flavor) . . . with prunes! Okay, I know that sounds horribly lame, but believe me, it's delicious. Inspired by Andrea of Care to Eat, I mixed 2 T chocolate PB2 with 4 chopped prunes and a sprinkling of chocolate chips. This healthy dessert is divine.

I've also tried mixing PB2 with Greek yogurt (too runny -- best stick with regular peanut butter for this delectable protein snack) and cottage cheese (just not too much happening here in terms of taste). I haven't tried cooking savory dishes with PB2 yet . . . but I plan to. PB2 might make a great base for a peanut stir-fry sauce, and I can't wait to test Nick's recipe for peanut roasted chickpeas. PB2 definitely has merit, and I've been enjoying it (especially with those chocolatey prunes!). Still, though, nothing can replace the real deal in my book.

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