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If you can’t control your peanut butter, you can’t control your life.

BIll Watterson

Eldest Son introduced me to the videos (and recipes) of B. Dylan Hollis. He’s a social media star who began his “career” just having a little fun posting humourous, monologue-driven cooking vidoes on Tik-Tok. What made him stand out from all the rest is that:

a) he is not a chef or a cook, but rather a jazz musician

b) he uses only vintage recipes.

On Good Friday, Eldest Son and his girlfriend followed Dylan’s recipe and made peanut butter bread – the 1932 version!

This Great Depression recipe is a simple recipe that doesn’t use any eggs or butter. Butter was a prized staple and needed to prepare dinner, not to be used on something as frivilous as dessert. In the city especially, dairy and fresh produce were extremely coveted. However, peanut butter was often a pantry staple because of its long shelf life. It provided the fat needed in baked goods, as well as flavour.

“I tell you, a door hinge could make this recipe”

B. Dylan Hollis

This peanut butter bread looked like a dense loaf, but it was surprisingly light with a subtle peanut butter flavour. It was delicious warmed with butter and honey and paired with hot tea, for an indulgent bedtime snack.

Dylan also tried a 1945 recipe, which used less milk but more salt, sugar and peanut butter. The cooking time was almost cut in half, but that’s because the temperature was much higher. And instead of mixing it all together, this recipe required hands on work, as in working the peanut butter into the flour mixture with your hands.

A week later, back in my kitchen, Eldest Son and I attemped peanut butter bread using Dylan’s recipe (after all of his failed experiments…6 to be exact). His recipe employed a slighty different method to incorporate all the ingredients. He also used less baking powder (to reduce the bitter flavour from too much), and added a room-temperature egg and sweetened applesauce. He noted that this recipe doesn’t work with natural or organic peanut butter because they don’t contain emulsifiers.

I let Eldest Son do most of the work…

But, since the peanut butter had to be mixed in using fingertips much like scones, just like with every jack-o-lantern we ever carved together, I had to get involved because Eldest Son didn’t want to get all sticky. Come to think of it, Youngest Son was the same way. No guts – no glory! Or in October, no jack-o-lantern!

I explained that we had to shag the dough, which led to all kinds of sensual sounds and slightly naughty jokes…

I couldn’t help myself…

We didn’t have any plain sweetened applesauce, so we used unsweetened pear applesauce, and we added chocolate chips. Dylan advised avoiding vanilla extract or spices like cinnamon because they tend to steal some of the peanut butter flavour. And quite frankly, when you’re baking peanut butter bread, you want to taste peanut butter!

We’ve become very spoiled in terms of sweetness. Dylan says this recipe created more of a “dessert bread” than the 1932 recipe. In 1932, the bread was meant to be buttered or jammed, and could be included as part of the meal rather than a sweet at the end. I’d have to agree. The texture of his bread was more cake-like than the 1932 version, and a little heavier and more “roasty”. Of course, the addition of chocolate chips also made it more “dessert-like”.

But who’s complaining?

Both recipes were easy and didn’t require unusual ingredients. I hate reading recipes that require something exotic and expensive, especially when I have to buy a jar, for like 1/4 tsp. And honestly, both loaves tasted great with a cup of tea.

I’m posting the link to the tik tok video on youtube below, for your amusement…or to get the recipes. It’s about 15 minutes, and not as quirky as some of his other videos, but if you’re looking for some inspiration, why not look to the past? Not everything new is “golden”.

I shouldn’t think even millionaires could eat anything nicer
than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.

Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

Happy Monday!