Curious Kitchen: Amelia Levin’s Peanut Butter Bites

By Dame Judy Hevrdejs

We’ve have changed from swimsuit to sweater season, but that doesn’t stop the lure of Lake Michigan and the cottages and towns along America’s Third Coast. There’s glorious autumn foliage to be enjoyed on a hike or by cruising the region’s winding roads. When winter delivers its snowy blanket, the trails await cross country skiers.  To sustain yourself and your family, turn to Dame Amelia Levin’s book, “The Lake Michigan Cottage Cookbook” (Storey Publishing) which celebrates the farmers, cheese makers, bakers and chefs with more than 100 recipes from Illinois, Wisconsin,  Michigan and Indiana, from Sheboygan to Saugatuck.

Her book reflects the region’s four seasons, with recipes that: “run richer and heartier, perfect for a colder fall or winter day,” writes Amelia. So consider Swedish Meatballs from  Al Johnson’s Restaurant in Sister Bay. Or Pasties Two Ways from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There is Prairie Grass Cafe’s Turnip, Squash, and Scallion Vegetable Platter from Dame Sarah Stegner. And Hewn Bakery’s Rolled Oat and Maple Syrup Scones from Dame Ellen King

But the Curious Kitchen, always on the  lookout for recipes with just a few ingredients for its 3-Ingredient Solution, likes the book’s Peanut Butter Bites. Inspired by portable bites Amelia and her husband enjoyed at the La Grange General Store in Whitewater, Wisconsin, they can energize a hike, bike ride, road trip or cross country ski afternoon. We like them plain or rolled in coconut.


Peanut Butter Bites

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Freezing Time:  1 to 2 hours

Makes: 16  (1 1/2-inch) bites

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

1 cup almond meal flour

8 ounces Medjool dates, pitted

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Optional: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed. For rolling, unsweetened cocoa powder or unsweetened coconut flakes

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Combine peanut butter, almond meal, dates, flaxseed (if using), and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until mixture is well combined and forms a ball.
  2. Roll mixture into 16 1.5-ounce balls (roughly the size of a walnut). Roll balls in unsweetened cocoa powder or unsweetened coconut flakes (if using).
  3. Place bites on wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze 1 to 2 hours. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag for longer storage.

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