I have said it before and I will say it again: I love peanut butter and will add it to just about anything. Both times I was pregnant, the thing I most craved was spoonfuls of peanut butter with dark chocolate chips on top. To be honest, I still do that every once in a while. Most people put butter and syrup on their pancakes and waffles, but not me. You guessed it: peanut butter on mine. I stir spoonfuls into oatmeal, spread it on banana bread, and add it to soup and stir-frys and as you can see here, I add it to apple crisp.
A couple years ago someone told me that you can substitute peanut butter for some or all of the butter in some recipes, particularly streusel topping. Light bulb! I have been making my apple crisp with peanut butter ever since and love it. Not only does peanut butter add the nutty flavor I love, but a healthy amount of protein. All in all, peanut butter has a lot of nutritional value.
What’s that? You don’t care for peanut butter? That’s okay, I will still be your friend. You might just like this recipe in spite of the “special ingredient.” You can taste some peanut flavor, but it doesn’t taste like you dipped apple slices in peanut butter and baked them. Why not give it a shot?
The real gold with this apple crisp is the streusel topping. The fruit is going to be delicious no matter what (if you’re using good quality fresh or fresh-frozen fruit), but it’s the topping that really makes the dish something special.
If you follow the recipe, you are guaranteed to have leftover topping and I suggest that you pop it in the freezer for later. My mom and dad make the topping just to have on hand and like to make single-serve berry desserts with it. Here’s how: thaw some frozen berries (Costco sells a terrific frozen berry mix) in ramekins in the microwave. Add topping and cook again in the microwave for five minutes or until the berries get bubbly. The topping crisps even in the microwave and you have a hot, healthy-ish dessert in about ten minutes. Perfect.