Friday, October 19, 2012

DIY: Peanut Butter

I am borderline obsessed with Peanut Butter.  I think it is pretty much one of the greatest foods ever.  It can be used in desserts, it can be used in savory dishes, it can be eaten by the spoonful straight out of the jar.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner or anything else, if there is peanut butter involved, I will probably eat it.  So it is kind of weird that until recently, I had never even considered making my own PB.  My brand loyalties have changed over the years, from Adams to Jif to Maranatha.  I tend to buy the natural peanut butter recently because I don't like having hydrogenated oils, sugar and other crap in my PB.  I am making more and more from scratch recently, and so one day K said "Why don't we ever make our own peanut butter?"  and I said "I don't know."  and so I decided to give it a try.

Creamy goodness
I was amazed at how easy it is!  And not only that, but how delicious the peanut butter turned out.  The awesome thing about making your own is that you are totally in control of what goes into it  You have control over the quality of peanuts, if you want organic, you get organic.  You can make it salted, unsalted, sweetened, unsweetened, and throw in whatever add ins that you can imagine (honey, cinnamon, raisins, coco powder, chocolate chips......).  I decided to go with some straight up peanut butter, because I'm a purist.  But I may try adding in other ingredients sometime.  I can tell you that at this point, I don't see myself ever going back to store bought again.

I bought some peanuts from Trader Joe's, and I decided to go with unsalted so that I could control the amount of salt in my PB.  I also went with oil roasted, not dry roasted.  I have made it with dry roasted, and I wasn't as happy with the texture or flavor of the PB.  The great thing about the oil roasted peanuts is that you don't have to add any additional oil.  The oil on the peanuts is the perfect amount, and the texture of the peanut butter turns out amazing.  I pour it into a mason jar and store it in the fridge.  The oil never separates, but the PB remains creamy and spreadable even in the fridge.  It is way better than any natural peanut butter I have purchased at the grocery store.  So, if you go with dry roasted or raw peanuts, you may have to add some additional oil as you are making your peanut butter.

Perfect Peanut Butter

16 oz Peanuts, roasted and unsalted
salt (if desired)

(Inspired by Averie Cooks)

1.  Even if you bought roasted nuts, as I did, you should still roast them a little longer yourself.  I didn't do this the first time and my peanut butter was a little lacking in flavor.  Just spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast them in the oven at 200 degrees for 5-10 minutes.  If they are not already roasted, you probably will need to keep them in a little longer.

This is nuts!
2.  After your peanuts reach their desired roastiness, take them out of the oven and pour them into your food processor.  If you don't have a food processor, you can probably use a powerful blender, although I have not tried that method.  Now flip the switch and process for several minutes.  The peanuts will go from a crumbly texture to a dough like consistency.  At one point you may fear that you are going to break your food processor.  You can turn it off and scrape down the sides if you want.  I usually ride it out, and the dough ball turns into a paste, and then it changes into almost a liquid.  Your food processor will probably be pretty warm at this point, so the peanut butter is a bit more runny than it will be after it cools off.

Whirl away
3. After it starts to get creamy, I usually blend it about a minute longer.  It can get a little creamier. This is when you add the salt.  You should start out with a very small amount and keep adding until you reach your desired flavor.  I would guess that I add about a teaspoon, but I start out by just adding two or three shakes, processing, tasting, and then adding another shake or two until it is the flavor that I want.  It is important to keep tasting it each time you add salt so that you don't cross over into the too salty territory.  I've used both sea salt and kosher, and I think I preferred sea salt just a tad.

4.  After you have blended in the salt, pour your peanut butter into a jar.  A 16 oz mason jar is the perfect size for me.  I pour it into the jar and put it right in the fridge.  It maintains the perfect consistence, and the oil never separates.    I've read that this will keep in the fridge for up to a month, but I wouldn't know.  It never lasts that long around here.

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Colleen said...

I can attest that this peanut butter is fantastical. I plan on making some as soon as my almond butter reserves run out,

NW Girl said...

I'm so glad you liked it! This is also great if you live in a place where peanut butter is hard to find. I had a hard time finding it when i lived in Spain

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