By Ann Cipperly
This year is the 100th anniversary of the Boll Weevil Monument in downtown Enterprise, which was erected to show appreciation to the insect, as it changed farming from cotton to peanuts. Growing peanuts brought prosperity to the farmers. While it reminds visitors of their agricultural past and present, it is the world’s only monument to an insect.
The monument features the statue of a woman holding a pedestal with an enlarged boll weevil perched on top. At the base of the monument appears the inscription: “In profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity this monument was erected by the citizens of Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama.”[
The monument was dedicated on December 11, 1919 at the intersection of College and Main Street, the heart of the town’s business district. Enterprise is planning a celebration on Dec. 11 this year for the anniversary.
According to Ron Smith of Auburn University for the Encyclopedia of Alabama, “the weevils first entered the United States from Mexico in 1892. They reached Mobile County in 1910 and had infested the entire state by 1916. Alabama’s economy was almost entirely based in agriculture, with cotton being the primary cash crop, when the weevil arrived. During the first half of the twentieth century, the state’s economy was devastated.
“Some historians maintain that the boll weevil was the most important event in Alabama history until the mid-twentieth century, eclipsed only by the Civil War.”
The boll weevil caused farmers to switch from growing cotton to peanuts. One of my grandfathers was a peanut farmer in south Alabama. My mother grew up on the farm and remembered when her father would drive to town in one of the few cars in the area to pick up field workers. Mom and her sisters helped my grandmother prepare huge meals for the workers.
Mom remembered that they sold their peanuts to Planters. When she was a teenager, the family moved to Opelika.
Now, the Wiregrass is known as the “Peanut Capital of the World.” The 76th National Peanut Festival will be held in Dothan Nov. 1-10. It is the nation’s largest peanut festival and is held every fall to celebrate local peanut farmers and the harvest. The majority of all the peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100 mile radius of Dothan.
The festival hosts family events, including amusement rides, concerts, livestock shows, animal attractions and plenty of peanuts. The Peanut Festival’s recipe contest will be held Oct. 24. Categories will include cakes, candies, cookies, cupcakes, pies and miscellaneous.
Dr. George Washington Carver was the guest speaker at the first festival held Nov. 10, 1938. Dr. Carver from Tuskegee Institute was known internationally for his development of over 300 products from peanuts.
The festival was held yearly through 1941 and then postponed until after World War II. It returned in 1947 and has been held annually every year.
Today, the event has grown to a ten day festival. A variety of family events are held, including concerts and agricultural attractions, among others.
The Peanut Festival is held on the fairgrounds in Dothan on U.S. Highway 231. The fairgrounds offer over 200 acres, two exhibit buildings, an amphitheater, an open air arena and an Ag complex.
For further information on the Peanut Festival contact 334.793.4323. For additional information on Enterprise’s Boll Weevil Centennial Celebration, go to VisitEnterprise.com or call 334.389.1554.
Following is a selection of recipes from the 2018 National Peanut Festival cooking contest and others in honor of Alabama farmers who still grow peanuts.
Cipperly can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peanut Butter Biscoff Pie
2018 1st Place Adult Pies
Donna Turner of Ozark
8-oz. pkg. Biscoff cookies, crushed fine
¼ cup butter, melted
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup heavy cream
4-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup Biscoff spread
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Melted peanut butter
Melted Biscoff spread
Pulse cookies in food processor until finely crumbled. Add to melted butter and sugar. Press into bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate.
With mixer on medium-high, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl and refrigerate.
In the mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, Biscoff spread and creamy peanut butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer to low and beat in powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until smooth.
Gently stir 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling, then the remaining whipped cream. Pour into shell. Refrigerate 3-4 hours.
Spread or pipe additional whipped cream on top of pie.
Drizzle with melted peanut butter and melted Biscoff spread.
Peanut Butter Banana Pie
2018 1st Place Student Pies
Megan Chandler of Webb
1 ready-to-use graham cracker crumb crust
3 bananas, sliced
¼ cup orange juice
2 cups 2-percent milk
5.01 oz. pkg. vanilla pudding mix
Peanut butter topping:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
¼ cup mini chocolate chips
Mini chocolate chips
Slice bananas and put in ¼ cup orange juice. Drain bananas and place on bottom of pie crust. Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes or until well blended. Pour vanilla pudding on top of bananas in pie crust.
For the peanut butter topping, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add ½ cup peanut butter and mix well until smooth and creamy.
Take the Cool Whip and ¼ cup mini chocolate chips and fold into peanut butter mixture. Do not over stir.
Place peanut butter topping on top of pudding.
Top with chopped peanuts and mini chocolate chips.
Peanut Butter Fudge Cake
2018 1st place Student Cakes
Rebecca Starling of Shorterville
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup water
½ cup peanut oil
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup chocolate syrup
3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter (in addition to peanut butter previously listed)
4 to 5 Tbsp. milk
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
15 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped and cut in half
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, water, oil, eggs and ½ cup peanut butter with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, then on medium for 2 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
Remove 2/3 cup of the batter and stir in ½ cup of chocolate syrup to make the peanut butter fudge batter.
Spread half of the plain peanut butter batter in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with the peanut butter fudge batter. Spread the remaining plain peanut butter batter on top and use a butter knife to swirl the batter.
Bake for 28-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
In a medium bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of milk until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. If needed, gradually add milk until glaze is desired consistency. Spread over top of cake and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup.
Sprinkle peanut butter cups on top.
South Alabama Boiled Peanuts
2 to 3 cups raw peanuts in shells
1/2 to 1 cup salt
Water to cover
Wash peanuts and place in a stockpot. Add salt and water to cover. Bring water to a boil. Let them boil for three hours.
Taste the peanuts. If they are not salty enough, add more salt.
If the peanuts are not soft enough to suit your taste, boil them longer. Drain and serve. Store in refrigerator.
Oven Roasted Peanuts
2 cups raw peanuts in shells
Place peanuts one layer deep in a shallow baking pan.
Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove one or two from the pan to test to see if they are roasted enough for your taste.
Homemade Peanut Butter
Place roasted peanuts to a food processor.
Process peanuts for about 45 to 60 seconds. Scrape sides of the processor bowl with a spatula and continue processing for 2 to 3 minutes. The peanut butter mixture will be smooth.
Can add salt, honey, maple syrup or brown sugar to taste.
Wiregrass Peanut Caramel Tart
2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 60 wafers)
1/3 cup butter, melted
20 wrapped caramels
15 miniature Snickers candy bars
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
2 cups salted peanuts, chopped
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Additional chopped salted peanuts
In a small bowl, combine wafer crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
In a heavy saucepan, combine caramels, candy bars, caramel topping and 1/4 cup cream; cook and stir over low heat until smooth and blended. Remove from heat; stir in peanuts. Spread over crust. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and remaining cream; stir until smooth. Spread over caramel layer. If desired, sprinkle with additional peanuts. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until serving.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Éclair Cake
1 box chocolate graham crackers (there will be a few graham crackers left over)
2 (3 ¼ -ounce) boxes vanilla instant pudding
1 cup peanut butter
3 ½ cups milk
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip
1 can chocolate frosting or homemade chocolate frosting
Spray bottom of 9 x13 pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with whole graham crackers.
In a bowl using an electric mixer, mix pudding with milk, peanut butter; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping.
Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer.
Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.
Heat the container of prepared frosting, uncovered for 1 minute. Pour over top of cake. Refrigerate several hours before serving.
Salted Nut Squares (Payday Candy Bar)
3 cups salted peanuts without skins
3 Tbsp. butter
2 cups peanut butter chips
1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
2 cups miniature marshmallows
Place half of peanuts in an ungreased 11 x 7 x 2 baking pan. In a saucepan melt butter and peanut butter chips over low heat. Add milk and marshmallows. Cook and stir until melted.
Pour over peanuts. Sprinkle remaining peanuts over the top. Cover and refrigerate. Cut into bars.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
National Peanut Board
2 medium frozen bananas, sliced
1 cup low fat milk
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
4 Tbsp. peanut butter, creamy
Blend all ingredients together in blender until smooth.
(For larger batch use a food processor or an immersion blender with partially thawed frozen bananas or fresh bananas.)
Lower Alabama Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until smooth.
Slowly add eggs and mix on high, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix until combined, about 1 minute.
Add in peanut butter and vanilla, and mix until incorporated and smooth.
In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together. Pour into egg/peanut butter mixture and mix on low.
Cover dough and chill in refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
When ready to bake, line two cookie trays with parchment paper
Form balls out of the dough (balls should be comprised of about 1- 1/2 tablespoons of dough) and roll in a bowl of granulated sugar.
Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet and press the tines of a fork into the cookies to form crisscross pattern on top.
Bake until very lightly browned, about 10-11 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Creamy No Cook Peanut Butter Pie
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup natural-style creamy peanut butter
8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz. frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed
Two (6-oz.) graham cracker crusts
Chocolate sundae syrup
Salted peanuts for garnish, optional
Combine powdered sugar, peanut butter and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add milk; beat until combined. Fold in whipped topping.
Divide mixture evenly between crusts; chill 8 hours or until set (pies will have a soft, fluffy texture). Cut into wedges; drizzle with chocolate syrup. Garnish with salted peanuts, if desired.
3 cups Crispix cereal
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup peanut butter
In a large bowl, combine cereal and peanuts; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine brown sugar and corn syrup. Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds or until sugar is dissolved, stirring several times. Immediately stir in peanut butter until smooth.
Pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Cool.
Crock-Pot Chocolate Peanut Clusters
16 oz. salted peanuts
16 oz. unsalted peanuts
12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips
24 oz. pkg. block almond or chocolate bark
1 container German sweet chocolate
Place in crock-pot in order listed. Do not stir. Heat 3 hours on low. After 3 hours, stir and drop by teaspoons on wax paper. Cool. Store in airtight container.
Meri’s Honey Roasted Peanuts
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups unsalted raw peanuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine sugar, honey, 3 tablespoons water, the vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves completely.
Add peanuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins simmering, about 1 minute. Turn heat to medium high, continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sugar mixture starts to dry out and clings to nuts, 2 to 4 more minutes.
Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
Bake until the sugar coating begins melting, about 5 minutes. Continue baking, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are golden brown and glazed in spots, 6 to 8 more minutes.
Remove baking sheet from the oven and stir nuts to distribute the caramel. Let cool on the baking sheet. Store, covered, at room temperature for up to 1 week.