This is a public service announcement—not a terribly important one, I grant you, unless you are starting your period, or going through a divorce, or heaven help you, both, in which case it is of the utmost importance.
To all you chocolate and peanut butter lovers out there who have been driving across town to the last remaining Baskin Robbins to get a whole mess of their chocolate peanut butter ice cream, or anxiously awaiting Easter so that you can stand outside Walgreens and scarf down those heavenly chocolate peanut butter eggs before you’ve even gotten to your car, I say: Stop! No more! I have a far better solution.
It turns out, we don’t really need anyone to put those two delectable soulmates together for us. All the chocolate moguls do is shove in some unsavory ingredients into the mix, waste some nonrenewable resources on packaging, and charge us more for their troubles. Instead of all that, (drumroll please) stick a gob of peanut butter on top of a hunk of chocolate and let the whole thing melt in your mouth!
Lest you begin to mock me (too late!), let me acknowledge that yes, I recognize that as discoveries go, this is the equivalent of Neil Armstrong sticking a flag in a crack of the asphalt down at the local 7 Eleven. Reece’s had a whole advertising campaign (ironically) built around the simple act of shoving chocolate and peanut butter together back when I was a child, if I remember correctly.
But these days, it’s all about going back to our roots, back to the earth, the way our grandparents did it. Pink Floyd should release an updated version: “WE DON’T NEED NO CORPORATIONS! WE DON’T NEED NO THOUGHT CONTROL!” So I think a simple reminder to get back to the basics when it comes to chocolate does indeed perform a public service.
It’s hard to get a dessert around here. My monthly grocery budget doesn’t allow for Ben & Jerry’s, and my never-ending pursuit to eliminate all sketchy ingredients from my home means no long-shelf-life foods with long ingredient lists. I can barely spend my money anyway, so concerned am I that I am going to inadvertently support some giant corporation intent on taking over the world in one form or another—you know, breeding a red cow to bring on Armageddon, or secretly supporting anti-gay-rights politicians for who knows what purpose.
But then those saintly agents of peace and mercy working on behalf of hormonal women everywhere managed to sneak the story into the Yahoo news cycle that dark chocolate contains antioxidants and is ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU. Praise you, oh undercover pseudo-medical types! You have freed me from my tethers of guilt!
And so now, along with my weekly three dozen eggs and two gallons of milk, I buy one glorious dark chocolate bar. I like Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate myself, for taste and value. It’s fabulous naked, but absolutely decadent topped with a gob of peanut butter (for me it’s Costco’s organic version, just peanuts and salt). Eating just a few bites makes me feel like Roald Dahl’s Charlie, who socked away a bar in the top drawer of his bureau and savored his daily indulgence.
A side note: This same strategy applies beautifully to chocolate and berries. Why, why, why do you need to bother with melting and pouring and wax paper curling up and finding room in your fridge when you can just eat a bite of chocolate, a bite of berry, pause for joy, and then repeat?!?
So enraptured am I by this idea that the last time we had a guest over for dinner, after the plates were cleared I served everyone a tiny bowl with four raspberries and two squares of my favorite bar. I have no idea how this went over with our guest, but I thought it was divine. Just as good, if not better, than all the tiramisus, chocolate cakes, mousses, and brownies I’ve made over the years. And I enjoyed it so much more since I had so much less invested in it.
I’m going to go ahead and say it now (and please don’t let the obvious hyperbole detract from my message): I’ll never make dessert again!
© Amy Daniewicz and Beneath the Trees