North Carolina grown peanuts are some of the best. Typically served in their shells, cracking them open and putting them in these delicious recipes will make you go, well, nuts. Chef Lynn Wells from Our State Magazine stopped by the WFMY News 2 Kitchen to show us ways to use this NC staple crop.

School Days Peanut Butter Cake (Yield: 24 servings)

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter (do not use natural)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Frosting:

  • 1 stick salted butter, softened
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a saucepan, add water and butter; heat on medium and bring to a slow boil. Remove from heat; stir in peanut butter and oil until well blended. Mix in eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla until blended.

Pour batter into flour mixture. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Batter will be loose. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading evenly to all corners. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven.

To make the frosting, bring butter, peanut butter, and buttermilk to a rapid boil. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in vanilla and powdered sugar. While the frosting is still hot, spread over the warm cake. Let cake cool completely and cut into bars.

Chicken & Peanut Stew (Yield: 8 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups roasted chicken, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 (16-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter

Heat the peanut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; cook and stir the onion and ginger in the hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, and cumin. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Pour the chicken stock over the mixture and add the sweet potatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover the pot partially with a lid, and cook at a simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir the tomatoes, kale, chicken, and peanut butter into the soup. Partially cover the pot again and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped peanuts (optional).

Chicken-Cabbage Salad with Peanut Dressing (Yield: 6 servings)

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the salad:

  • 3 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 large english cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups roasted chicken, shredded ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts (optional)
  • Lime wedges (for garnish)

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients, except for the peanuts, and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, pour the peanut dressing over the salad and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts, and lime wedges.