P-Nutty Apple Crunch, 1970 – A Mid-Century Recipe Test

Posted on Nov 13 2013 - 5:33am by RetroRuth

Most of you know by now that I have a weakness for weird ingredients in desserts. Tomato soup? Bring it on. Sauerkraut? Hello. Pork fat? Done it. Pinto beans? Please.

But this week I picked something a little unusual. The mystery ingredient this week is peanut butter, which isn’t a strange ingredient in the world of desserts at all.

Unless you are making apple crisp.


This is P-Nutty Apple Crunch, from a promotional recipe from Peter Pan Peanut Butter. This specific recipe is from an advertisement from 1970, but I’ve seen incarnations of this recipe as far back as the 1930’s in magazines and pamphlets.

5.0 from 1 reviews
P-Nutty Apple Crunch
  • ¼ cup Peter Pan Peanut Butter, smooth or crunchy
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup AP flour
  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6-8 medium-sized apples
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3 T water
  1. With pastry blender or two knives, cut peanut butter and butter into combined oats, flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Peel, core and slice apples into buttered shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice and water.
  3. Spoon peanut butter mixture over apples, and bake in moderate oven, 375 degrees, for about 40 minutes, until apples are tender. Serve hot or cold with cream, whipped cream or softened ice cream.


I have to admit I was very intrigued by this. While not a usual ingredient in apple crisp, apples and peanut butter do go together awfully well. I was VERY interested to see if their affinity for each other translated to the world of crisp as well.


So, here’s the deal: I actually LIKE some skins on my apples when I am making apple crisp. Weird, huh? I usually pick out some of the more thin-skinned apples to leave unpeeled and just chop them up. Bonus: It takes less time for the crisp to get into my mouth that way!


So, this recipe is also unusual because there is NO extra sugar added to the apples on the bottom. I normally toss mine with a bit of sugar, cinnamon and flour, but these went in naked!


And came out smelling amazing! Seriously, the smell of this thing was killing me! It was so hard to wait for dinner.

“So, what do we have this week?”

“A surprise.”

“Oh. Great. I love surprises. It’s cheese, isn’t it?”

“Actually, not this time.”



“Huh. So what is it?”

“You are just going to have to taste it!”

“I hate it when you say that.”

Tom TastingIMG_3716

“What the heck is in here?”

“Peanut Butter.”

“Oh, god. That’s what it is, isn’t it?”

“Is it horrible?”

“Actually…no. It’s really good. But it needs ice cream.”

The Verdict: Delicious, but needs ice cream

From The Tasting Notes:

Very unusual taste, very peanut-y, but not bad at all. Unexpected, but good. Topping was actually really, really, good. It was almost too strong for the apples, and would have overpowered them if we wouldn’t have left the skins on the some of the apples. A bite tasted almost like a caramel apple with peanuts on it. And a bite of the topping by itself tastes like the most crazy-amazing peanut butter cookie ever. We covered this with scoops of pumpkin spice ice cream and caramel sauce and pretty much went straight to heaven. It was the ultimate fall sundae!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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9 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. SnoKat November 13, 2013 at 11:50 am - Reply

    I put peanut butter in everything! My banana bread, my oatmeal cookies, and especially my chili. Yes, peanut butter and cocoa powder. Peanut butter goes with so many things, it’s so versatile, I’m surprised that people find it an ‘odd’ ingredient. Srsly. Stick in any baked good and you can’t go wrong.

  2. Mary L November 13, 2013 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    My mom used to spread peanut butter on bananas and cookies. I love the stuff but she loved it more.

  3. Jen November 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    I’m in! And wondering why I’ve never thought of this before myself, actually. When I worked in an office, my go-to afternoon snack was apple slices I dipped in a dollop of peanut butter (sometimes with a drizzle of honey on the PB). The enormous jar of peanut butter I kept in the cabinet above my desk drew amused comments, but I also wasn’t the one wandering down to the cafeteria for hyper-sugary donuts and bagels at 3PM, either. 😉

  4. Aubrey November 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Mmm, that looks pretty great! PB and apples is one of my all time fave snacks so I’m pretty sure I would love this apple crisp.

  5. Tipsykit November 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    That sounds delicious. If you want to do something REALLY weird with peanut butter, try stirring a spoonful into some ramen noodles along with some hot sauce…

    • SnoKat November 14, 2013 at 11:37 am - Reply

      That’s not weird. That’s like pad-thai! Yum.

      • Tipsykit November 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm - Reply

        Yeah, it’s pretty delicious.

  6. Sara In AZ November 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    Oh wow, this sounds entirely amazing to me……I think I might need to get my hands on some apples SOON!!!

  7. Kat October 21, 2017 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    So I don’t have apples on hand today… I’m going to use canned pears. Lol, I just really want to try the topping!!!

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