Make it Yourself: Peanut Butter

Homemade Peanut Butter on buttered multi-grain sourdough
Ah, peanut butter.  If you grew up in America and are not allergic to peanuts, you have certainly had your share of peanut butter.  Peanut butter on buttered toast for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, in Kindergarten: Ants on a Log which was a stick of celery with its concave center filled with peanut butter, and dotted with chocolate chips (if I was lucky) or raisins (which I picked off).  My dad used to love a thick smear of peanut butter on a chocolate chip cookie.  I've had peanut butter over vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce (Hersheys from the bottle as a kid; Fran's chocolate sauce when I can get it nowadays).  I used to take PBJ (peanut butter and jelly) sandwiches on backpacking trips - great power food.  It's versatile stuff!

Ours was a big family full of peanut butter lovers, so my mom would buy peanut butter in gallon-size jars from Costco.  When the jars where empty, we'd use them to store cookies and other goodies.  The peanut butter of choice was Adams Crunchy Old Fashioned Peanut Butter, with no additives, just the good stuff: peanuts and salt.

Raw Peanut Love.
Fast forward:  I am in Europe and a jar of peanut butter is few and far between.  You can get it at natural food stores and in bigger grocery stores, at a price of about €4 per 300 ml jar - so about $6 for just over a cup.  There are some recipes that just demand peanut butter:  Peanut Butter Candy Bars - a favorite in our house, especially with the kids, is one of them.  I'll share that recipe later, but first I have to tell you just how easy it is to make a great batch of peanut butter right at home in your kitchen.  And like so many things you can make yourself - the flavor is much, much better.

You can buy roasted peanuts for this if you wish - just make sure you buy the ones without salt or any other preservatives or flavors.  I buy the raw unsalted peanuts in bulk and roast them myself - I prefer being able to taste the raw peanuts and feel like it gives me more control over the whole process.  Not to mention the fact that pre-roasted peanuts tend to taste a little old and be a little dry, in my opinion.
Creamy and Crunchy - as it should be.
I use a food processor to grind them - I can't vouch for a blender, but imagine there would be a lot of scraping involved and a bit more mess as you'd need to dig down into the bottom of the jar to make sure all the chunks are incorporated.  This will be a chunky peanut butter, and mine had a fresh, sweet peanut taste, which I love.  One other thing:  most peanut butters you buy from the store have salt in them.  I really like the flavor of this without salt, but you can add it if you wish.  Just start with a small amount and taste to get the flavor you want.  You can also add cinnamon, honey...or any number of other flavors. Hey - it's your peanut butter!

Let's get started.

With your daily bread.  Toasted.  That's some good stuff right there.

Homemade Peanut butter

500 g / 1 lb+ of fresh, raw, unsalted peanuts
sunflower oil or other vegetable oil (don't use olive oil for this)

Preheat your oven to 350° F / 175°C.  Spread the raw peanuts out evenly on a baking dish.  Place in the oven and roast for approximately 10 minutes.  Stir.  The peanuts will just begin to brown.  Place them back in the oven and watch them carefully - roast them until they are a light golden brown - about another 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool until they are just slightly warm.

Pour all of the peanuts into the bowl of your food processor.  Put the lid on and grind until the peanuts start to come together and form a paste.  This took about 8 minutes for me - it'll be longer or shorter depending on how powerful your food processor is and how oily your peanuts are.  Once the peanuts are forming a paste and stuck up against the side of the food processor, stop the grinding for a moment and add a thin drizzle of sunflower oil over the peanut mass - about 2 teaspoons.  Using a spatula, shove the peanut mass down onto the blade, replace the lid, and grind again.  The peanut should start to smooth out and form peanut butter.  I had to add a bit more sunflower oil - do this one teaspoon at a time until the peanut butter has reached your desired consistency.  Spoon into glass jars and store in the refrigerator.  Keeps well for 1 month.

Makes approximately 2 cups / 4 dl.

Labels: , ,