If you’re new to Amish restaurants, one of the first things you’ll notice is that the waitress will bring you a basket full of steamy hot biscuits. What you might not notice is the container of creamy spread that’s sitting on the table, right next to the apple butter. What exactly is that creamy spread?
It’s been called several names. Church spread (because it’s usually served at Amish and Mennonite “after church” dinners), or “heaven” (because those who have eaten it are pretty sure it’s going to be served up there). I call it, “Amish salsa” because it tastes good on just about everything: biscuits, toast, bread, celery, apples, bananas, crackers, pretzels, ice cream, or if you’re really hungry, just eat it by the spoonful. Try to refrain, however, from dipping your fingers into the jar. Amish peanut butter is not meant to be worn.
This delicious concoction may have different names, but there’s one name you’ll never hear it given, and that’s “diet.” (Although, maybe there is a sugar-free version somewhere that I haven’t discovered yet.)
But the official name of this delicacy is Amish Peanut Butter, and if you’ve never tried it, be sure to spread a generous portion onto your next biscuit, and enjoy its ooey gooey goodness to your heart’s content. Trust me—you’ll thank me for it.
Once you become an Amish Peanut Butter aficionado, you’ll notice that there can be a slight difference in the taste, depending on the ingredients used. Recipes vary, fluctuating between the addition of marshmallow crème, honey, corn syrup, or molasses. Everyone has their favorite ingredients, and depending on what is used, this can vary the color of the spread. (All are delicious—it’s simply a personal preference.)
This “Spreads of all Spreadables” is available at most Amish restaurants and stores. But if you don’t have a trip planned to Amish Country this fall (and why wouldn’t you—the colors are spectacular), jars of it can also be ordered off Amazon, as well as from your favorite Amish restaurant or store’s website.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, there are even YouTube videos that will show you how to make Amish Peanut Butter in the privacy of your own home.
It’s important to note that there are plenty of Amish recipes that include Amish peanut butter in the ingredients, such as Amish Peanut Butter pie, Amish Peanut Butter Custard Pie, and Amish Peanut Butter Cookies. Actually, there is no limit to the recipes that could benefit greatly from a little Amish Peanut Butter, so feel free to get creative.
Amish peanut butter is the Truffle of Tuscarawas County, the Spumoni of Shipshewana, the Crème Brule of Charm, and the Ladyfingers of Lancaster.
Pick up some for the holidays. It makes a great gift. Or for fall. Or September. Or anytime, for that matter. And don’t worry about the calories. Peanut butter is a protein, so I’m pretty sure it’s healthy.
Martha Bolton is an Emmy nominated former staff writer for Bob Hope, and the author of 89 books, including two Amish novels Josiah for President and The Home Game. She is also the Playwright for Blue Gate Musicals, which currently has productions at The Star Theater in Sugar Creek, Ohio, The Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana, Indiana, and the Bird in Hand Stage in Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania. Martha’s second novel, The Home Game, was just awarded the Golden Scroll Merit Award for Fiction. Her latest book, Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? released this year.