Home cooking: Peanut Buster Pizza

December 23, 2012

Carrie Crawford learned her way around a kitchen early in life. Her family owned a commercial food business.

"I learned to cook from my mother and grandmother. My mother owned the Cake and Candy Emporium in Lancaster, (Pa.), and we kids helped make things," she said.

She continued cooking and baking into her adult years. Now a Funkstown resident, she gave up wheat a few years ago due to health concerns.

"I'm gluten-free now. It's been probably five or six years," she said. "For a while, it was all about things I couldn't eat. But then I discovered things like quinoa."

Quinoa seeds can be be used as a cereal and grain substitute in the kitchen. Crawford explored quinoa and other alternatives to wheat flour —gluten-free flours and mixes by manufacturers such as Cherrybrook Kitchen.

Crawford still cooks for her husband and two sons, ages 6 and 7.

And she tries to pass on the family tradition of children helping in the kitchen.

"The older one likes to cook," she said. "I cook with him a lot. Last night, we made cornmeal muffins."

Crawford picked up this recipe for Peanut Buster Pizza in Chicago from a co-worker. She submitted it for the "Funkstown Olde Tyme Christmas Cookbook" 10 years ago when the cookbook was published, but it's not something she would make now.

"We still decorate gingerbread houses and make (other holiday treats)," she said. "But I try to get them to eat more healthy than I did when I was a kid."

Crawford suggested trying to make the recipe less sweet, such as using reduced-sugar and sugar-free chocolate syrup.

"Some of those are pretty good," she said.

— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor

Peanut Buster Pizza

19.8-ounce box brownie mix

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

2 bananas, sliced

4 peanut butter cups, chopped into small pieces

Chocolate syrup, to taste

Heat oven to temperature specified on brownie package.

Prepare the brownie mix according to directions. Place parchment paper on 15-inch, round pizza pan or pizza stone. Spread brownie batter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool completely.

Mix cream cheese, peanut butter and brown sugar, and spread over brownie dough. Sprinkle nuts on top.

Distribute sliced bananas and chopped peanut butter cups on top. Drizzle chocolate syrup to taste.

Serve immediately. Cut into wedges, like pizza.
— By Carrie Crawford of Funkstown; reprinted courtesy of the Olde Tyme Christmas committee, which published "Funkstown Olde Tyme Christmas Cookbook." For copies, contact Town Hall at 301-791-0948.

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