Kitchen owners! I’m sure you never imagined that the sticky jar of peanut butter at the back of your cupboard could be used for anything more than slapping on bread. Be amazed: you have barely scratched the peanutty surface of this great food paste. Peanut butter can also be used for (thanks, Wikipedia!) –  

  • Providing the toothless elderly with protein (not using the crunchy kind, presumably. That would just be mean)
  • Making bird feeders
  • Luring unsuspecting mice into traps
  • Removing chewing gum from hair (?! If I had chewing gum in my hair, I’m pretty sure plastering it with peanut butter wouldn’t make the situation better…)

And the very pinnacle of all of these: Sophie Dahl’s peanut butter fudge recipe, which I tried this week. (Now you’ll have even more reason to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day on 24th January.)

It’s one of life’s great truths that salt and sweet combinations are irresistible; that’s why I have a clinical inability to stop eating honey roasted cashews. So I knew this would be good before I started. I wasn’t disappointed: firstly, the ingredients list is beautifully short.

I'm not sure if you can guess where I shop...

I happened to have run out of icing sugar and butter this week, otherwise my supermarket trip would’ve been briefer still.

Secondly, the method comprises about three steps, none of which are especially difficult. It also involves presiding over a great boiling pot of butter and sugar –witchy and immensely satisfying; I defy you to restrain a cackle – after which you stir in peanut butter until it melts into lovely brown and gold swirls.

Double, double toil and trouble...

A bit of icing sugar and a spell in the fridge to cool down concludes the matter. You don’t even have to switch the oven on.

Once I’d taken it out of the fridge and cut it into squares, I realised that it was all rather squashy and soft, which isn’t terribly fudge-like, so I don’t think I boiled for long enough (I was worried about over-boiling the butter, as that hasn’t turned out well in the past – cf. pecan pie debacle). It also contains enough sugar to knock over a small horse. Seriously: go back up and look at that ingredients photo. See it? Right – I used half that bag of brown sugar and 2/3 of the icing sugar. My teeth are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Still, it’s to be expected with fudge, isn’t it? That’s why you cut it into very small squares, even if you then eat fifteen of them.

Deliciousness: Wonderful in small doses. The little crunchy fragments of peanut work brilliantly with the sweetness of the fudge.

Complexity: Couldn’t be easier. The hardest bit is trying not to eat all of it at once.

Washing-up pile: Five. Nice and brief.

Casualties: My nice top got splattered with boiling butter. Which doesn’t come out, I don’t think. Boo!

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