Alabama peanut farmers have a sweet spot for Valentine’s Day. Consumers love to commemorate the “holiday of love” with the gift of candy, and the sweet and salty flavor combination of chocolate and peanuts remains America’s favorite treat.
That’s good news for farmers because nearly 20 percent of peanuts harvested are used in candy production. According to the Alabama Peanut Producers four of the top 10 selling candy bars contain peanuts or peanut butter. Many candy lovers would insist no box of chocolates is complete without turtles, a traditional confection made of chocolate, caramel and nuts.
Candy is one of the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts, second only to greeting cards, according to a survey from StatisticBrain.com.
Peanuts are an important crop in Alabama, contributing $211.4 million to the state’s economy and employing 2,046 people. Nearly half of national peanut production is located within 100 miles of Dothan, Ala. Peanuts are hardy and can withstand drought conditions, making the plant a great fit for southeast Alabama.
This Valentine’s Day, making a homemade chocolate and peanut butter dessert is sure to impress. Try the recipe below for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Silk Pie, courtesy of Houston County peanut farmer Gloria Jeffcoat. Find this recipe and more in the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Farming Feeds Alabama Cookbook, available online at FarmingFeedsAlabama.com.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER SILK PIE
1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy or whipping cream, beaten until stiff
9-inch chocolate cookie-crumb crust, prepared
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
3 tablespoons brewed coffee
Peanuts, chopped for garnish
1. Beat cream cheese, sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla in a large mixer bowl until creamy.
2. Gently fold in half the beaten cream, and then fold in remaining cream until blended. Spread filling in crust; smooth top.
3. To make topping, combine chocolate pieces and coffee in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes; stir until smooth
4. Cool chocolate slightly; pour over top of filling. Refrigerate overnight.
Makes 8 servings.