It’s a basic question to determine preference of peanut butter, one that doesn’t even require mention of the subject to prompt an answer. And we all have our answer, don’t we?
Peanut butter has been the star of milk commercials, it’s been the staple of school lunches, it’s been the go-to treat for kids and adults and dogs alike. We’re told not to eat too much of the store-bought sugar-laden mass-produced stuff, but we all eat it by the spoonfuls when no one’s looking, anyway.
The oh-so-versatile peanut butter spread-snack serves a multitude of hunger satiating purposes, ranging from a light midday bite slathered on fruit, to a filling lunch sandwiched between our favorite bread, to simply a flavor booster swirled into decadent desserts. And how you like your peanut butter, crunchy or creamy, alongside the vessel of choice- apple, banana, toast, or spoon- can tell more about one’s personality than garnered on some first dates.
Making peanut butter at home is deceivingly easy, with the only limitation being the availability of a food processor (and really, for those who don’t own one: trust me when I say, it’s about time to get a food processor). While the most basic of peanut butters can be made by throwing a few handfuls of peanuts straight from their package into the machine, the recipe below calls for just bit more finesse. And I’ve got a feeling that since you’ve got the gumption to make your own peanut butter in the first place, you’re not going to mind a little extra finesse.
Roasting the peanuts before grinding brings out a little extra flavor, and enhances the toasty nuttiness of the peanuts. Using grapeseed oil instead of peanut oil makes for a cleaner-tasting peanut butter, one where the pure and natural flavors can really shine. Setting aside some of the peanuts after the initial go-around in the food processor gives you a super-chunky, textured spread. Omitting honey or sugar from the recipe simply means you can slather honey onto whatever surface you spread your peanut butter over later.
This recipe is for a crunchy and savory peanut butter, and for reasons already mentioned above, does not include any sweetening agents. But the beauty of a homemade condiment recipe is that you can adjust to your own personal preferences. If you like your peanut butter smooth, omit the step where we reserve some of the chopped nuts, and pulse a little longer. If you like it nice and sweet, add a spoonful of honey or molasses or even agave nectar. If you like it goopy and drippy (all the better to swirl it into treats like ice cream, brownies, and cake batters!), just add a tad more oil until the desired consistency is reached. And don’t even get me started on the chocolate-in-peanut butter possibilities. We’ll get to that another time.
Let’s face it. When you’re making homemade peanut butter, crunchy and creamy are no longer the only options.
Homemade Peanut Butter (Crunchy or Creamy)
- 2 1/2 (450 g) cups raw, shelled, and unsalted peanuts
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- Place peanuts on a shallow baking sheet lined with foil. Roast peanuts at 300°F for twenty minutes, shaking pan ever halfway through. Watch carefully, as oven temperatures may vary, and your peanuts may char.
- Allow peanuts to cool slightly (15 minutes)
- Transfer peanuts to a food processor. Pulse five or six times, until peanuts are coarsely chopped. Scoop out roughly 1/2 cup peanuts (watch the blade!) and set aside.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt into the food processor. Replace lid and blend on regular speed. After 60 seconds, when you notice the peanuts resembling grains of sand (feel free to stop to examine), begin to slowly drizzle grapeseed oil in the opening. Blend for another 60-90 seconds.
- When peanut butter is creamy (to your liking), remove from the base. Fold in chopped peanuts set aside earlier.
- Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator- unlike many store bought brands, since your homemade peanut butter has no preservatives it should not be kept out in your pantry. The peanut butter will keep at maximum freshness for a week, but is safe to be consumed for another week afterwards as well.
- Makes about 15 oz, or 420 g crunchy peanut butter- equivalent to one regular-sized store bought jar.