It’s Always Better with Peanut Butter

Columns Ono, You Know

August 31, 2014

Story By: Alana Folen |

Good old-fashioned peanut butter sandwiches were my saving grace during my awkward phases in elementary, middle school and high school years. They even got me through four years of college, when bouts of hunger and laziness would get the best of me. Although my college days are long gone, my obsession with peanut butter is here to stay. You know I’m all about those peanut butter M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces and all that good stuff. But with the recent introduction of cookie butter, some may think that leaves peanut butter lingering under the radar. Don’t get me wrong, cookie butter is delish, but it’s a fad, trend, hot commodity, good for the time being — my point is, nothing trumps peanut butter.

Sometimes, the best snack is globs of peanut butter — crunchy or creamy, it doesn’t matter — which I’ll eat directly out of the jar with a spoon. Another favorite of mine is a peanut butter and pickle sandwich (don’t bash it until you try it).

Sadly, however, I don’t think peanut butter receives the praise it truly deserves — that is, until now. This week, the following OYK establishments took control of this kid-approved, humble condiment and created sophisticated, sweet sensations that go way beyond your PB&J sandwich. Prepared to be mind-boggled as peanut butter takes on a new dimension.

Cake Works

A mecca for sophisticated cake connoisseurs and the average sugar junkie, Cake Works on South King Street (across Hawaiian Humane Society) has the power to lure me in with its sinful confections.

For Abigail Langlas, chef and owner of this specialty bake shop, there’s no cutting corners. Langlas attended L’ecole de Cuisine Francaise de Sabine de Mir-beck, and Westminster College, a selective training program for working pastry chefs.

And while custom cakes and cupcakes derived from the owner’s personal recipes are the main draw, peanut butter fanatics listen up: When you think Cake Works, think Nutter Butter Sandwich Cookie ($1.75 each). With all due respect, this one has put store-bought Nutter Butters to shame.

A decadent spread of peanut butter butter cream is sandwiched between two homemade peanut butter cookies. A simple yet completely satisfying treat, Nutter Butter Sandwich Cookie appeals to those who prefer a creamy spread as well as those who like the crunch.

“In regards to our Nutter Butter, the homemade cookies consist of crunchy peanut butter and the French butter cream achieves smoothness from creamy peanut butter,” explains Langlas. “These things are addicting. Once I eat one, I can’t stop!”

You really can’t have enough peanut butter! Cake Works knows this, which is why Peanut Butter Mini Cupcakes and seasonal Reese’s Pieces French Macarons (coming this fall) also are best-sellers.

Cake Works
2820 S. King St.

Stage Restaurant

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup ($10) N. Walker photo

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup ($10) N. Walker photo

Exceptional fare from a furniture store? Sounds crazy, right? Wrong! Stage Restaurant, on the upper level of Honolulu Design Center, offers just that: exceptional fare and then some. Stylish furnishings and stunning decor will catch the eye, but it’s the blend of American, Asian and local flavors imbued into the cuisine that will leave you at a loss for words. Think exquisite platings of your favorite entrees, such as Roasted Jidori Chicken Breast and Ko Choo Jang Glazed Kurobuta Pork Chop. Is your mouth watering? Probably. But, oh, the dessert! A legit meal needs to have the sweetest of endings.

Stage’s dessert menu grabs my attention right away — my eyes are automatically drawn to whimsical masterpieces of Cotton Candy Du Jour and Vietnamese Style Coffee Flan. As I continue to peruse the menu, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup ($10) quickly tops my list of must-haves. Be still, my heart. This treat features a milk chocolate panna cotta base composed of luxurious San Francisco-based TCHO chocolate. This is combined with peanut butter powder, strawberry banana sherbert, acai-mixed berry coulis, whipped cream and crunchy caramel milk chocolate tuile to create a sweet symphony with crescendos of peanut butter passion.

Stage Restaurant
Honolulu Design Center
1250 Kapiolani Blvd.

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Hawaii's Best