These Peanut Log Candy Bars contain a sweet, gooey marshmallow and caramel center and are covered in salty, crunchy peanuts. Slice up your peanut log for a decadent treat! This post is in partnership with the Texas Peanut Producers Board. #TXPeanutTour17
Whole, crushed, or ground, my family eats a lot of peanuts. But despite our peanut eating habits, I didn’t know a whole lot about peanuts. I was thrilled when the Texas Peanut Producers Board invited me out to Lubbock with 12 other bloggers for 3 days of peanut learning. There were naturally a lot of jokes about working for peanuts, but seeing first hand how peanuts go from farm to food was enlightening. And just wait until you see all of the peanut inspired dishes we got to eat!
Our peanut tour took us to Lubbock, Texas. We stayed at the beautiful Overton Hotel, which I highly recommend if you are staying in Lubbock. After checking in and going up to my room I was surprised with a gift basket FULL of peanut goodies, from peanut butter to biscotti. I couldn’t possibly eat all of the goodies by myself in 48 hours so my family was excited when I brought things home from my trip.
Part of seeing how peanuts get from farm to food was heading out to a peanut farm and talking with a farmer. It was such a pleasure to meet Mason Becker, a multi-generational farmer, and have him explain to us about the different types of peanuts, the growing season, and the farming industry in general.
Did you know peanuts grow underground?
There are four basic types of peanuts: Virginia, Runner, Spanish, and Valencia. Virginia peanuts are a larger variety typically sold in their shell. If you’re at a baseball game eating peanuts, you’re probably eating Virgina peanuts. Runner peanuts are smaller and typically have a higher oil content. Runner peanuts are better for peanut butter and confectionaries. Learn more about the types of peanuts.
The peanut growing season starts with planting at the end of April and harvesting in September. You can see in the pictures the rows of peanuts, since these photos were taken at the beginning of August. By the time they are ready to harvest the rows will have grown together. To harvest the plants all get pulled and flipped upside down. Then they are left to dry in the field for 7 days. A combine separates the peanuts from the leaves and stem and then send the peanuts to market.
We learned from our farmer Mason that while crops are often to susceptible to hail and storms, underground crops like peanuts are hearty. Peanut farming, and farming in general, is also much more high tech than most people realize and requires skilled laborers. The technology advancements mean that farmers are producing more pounds per acre than ever before, but the machines and investment for farmers is also steep. Farming is a career that requires passion.
It takes 540 peanuts make up a 12 ounce jar
After learning about the farming side of peanut production we headed to a processing plant. After the peanuts are harvested from the farmers they head to a place like the Birdsong Shelling facility. We all donned protective eyewear, hairnets, and earplugs for this part of the tour. That also meant no photography. So you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you we walked in to a storage facility that had a literal mountain of peanuts. I couldn’t believe how many peanuts were in that storage area. Part of me really wanted to climb the mountain, which I realize would have been futile and they wouldn’t have let me. So I just watched, listened and learned about how peanuts get processed.
Birdsong sorts 1 – 1.4 million pounds of peanuts per day. Some of these peanuts stay in the shell, some are shelled but whole, some are in halves, and others are smaller pieces. Lots of machines all doing many different steps of the sorting process. Once the peanuts are sorted they are bagged are stored in a cold warehouse. These are the finished consumer sized bags, these are large bags to send off to national candy brands or ballparks who will then sell to the end consumer.
It wouldn’t be a complete farm to food tour without getting to eat some peanuts! I was floored by the creativity of the peanut dishes we tasted. We had a peanut inspired dinner at Las Brisas Southwest Steakhouse and a lunch from the Farm to Fork gastro truck.
Our peanut tasting menu items included:
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Chicken Wings
- Drunken Tuna with Wasabi Peanuts
- Surf N’ Turf Satay with Thai Style Peanut Sauce on a Peanut and Sweet Potato Puree
- Peanut Bread and Ancho Honey Butter
- Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass with a peanut Zuzu Sauce
- Korean Fried Chicken served on a bed of Asian Peanut Slaw
- Peanut Butter Gelato
Something else we learned on our trip is many farmers grow peanuts in addition to other crops. We had the pleasure to visit a vineyard and hear from Steve Newsmen and Chace Hill on how they came to form Trilogy Cellars, a family owned winery in Loveland, Texas. We enjoyed lunch outside in the sunshine and then got to see the vineyards up close, and eat a fresh grape or two!
Thirteen bloggers made up this years Texas Peanut Tour! Texas is the second largest peanut producing state in the nation. Peanuts might be small, but I learned on our trip that they are also mighty. You can see all of our posts on social media following the hashtag #TXPeanutTour17.
After spending time in Lubbock learning about peanuts and eating amazing peanut inspired dishes, I was anxious to create some peanut dishes at home. After making a savory peanut dish for dinner I was ready to create a peanut dessert. This is my mother-in-laws pecan log recipe that I updated to make with peanuts instead!
While the recipe only takes about 30 minutes of prep time it will take you a day to make the completed dessert. You’ll start by making the marshmallow center, which has to be frozen overnight. Then you’ll melt the caramels and cover the marshmallow log with the caramel. I would recommend melting the caramels in a dish large enough to fit the 6 inch marshmallow logs. Then you can put the marshmallow log in the caramel, use a spoon to make sure the marshmallow is covered, and then move the caramel marshmallow log to the peanuts.
I spread the peanuts on a sheet of parchment paper. I placed the caramel marshmallow center on the peanuts and then used my hands to cover the log and press in the peanuts to make them stick all over the log.
Once the peanuts were on the log I put them on another piece of parchment and rolled them up individually. It was warm when I was making these peanut rolls and this allowed me to put the finished rolls back into the refrigerator easily to harden. Once they hardened, I put them in before dinner and took them out for dessert, I could easily slice them and serve our peanut log candy bar treats!
- 7 oz marshmallow cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 pounds caramels
- 4 1/2 Tbsp water
- 2 pounds peanuts
- Combine the marshmallow cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
- Add the powdered sugar. Knead together on a flat surface until smooth.
- Divide kneaded marshmallow mixture into 8 rolls.
- Roll marshmallow rolls into 6 inch logs. Wrap and freeze overnight.
- Combine caramels and water into a microwave safe dish and melt. (30 second intervals, stirring in between)
- Spread peanuts on parchment or wax paper for rolling.
- Unwrap frozen marshmallow logs and cover in melted caramel.
- Place caramel covered log on peanuts and cover log.
- Place peanut logs on a baking sheet and put in refrigerator to harden.
- Slice and serve!
What is your favorite way to enjoy peanuts?
Looking for a savory peanut recipe? Try my Peanut Noodle Pasta Dish!