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Homemade Peanut Butter
Homemade nut butters are cost effective, easy to make and much more wholesome than store bought. With just 1 ingredient make this yummy spread which you can enjoy with toast, oats, smoothies, etc.
Let me be clear from the beginning, you don’t NEED to make your own peanut butter as there are quite a few reliable brands that make the good stuff. With the rise of allergies and dietary restrictions we can buy any nut butter at the snap of a finger today. In saying this, making your own nut butter at home does come with a few perks. The most obvious one of them all is the flavor meter, I have yet to taste a store bought peanut butter that tastes as authentic and natural as the one made at home. Why is that? The only ingredient needed to make this butter is peanuts, you can flavor it with al sorts of extras but you don’t need to do that. The next point I want to shine light on is the texture, you can control how chunky, coarse or smooth you want the spread to be. Last but not least, it is free from any nasties automatically making it more wholesome and nutritious. A lot of the store bought jars have added preservatives to increase the shelf life as well as added sweetening agents and thickeners etc. Making your own allows you to control the ingredients.
There are so many uses for nut butters and I know the most commonly found recipes are those where its spread over toast or swirled into oats or dolloped into smoothies. However, you can use them as a filling for sandwich cookies, added into buttercream for a jam packed peanut flavor. There are a ton of baking recipes where peanut butter/nut butters come handy, for example while baking cookies, bars, tarts, custards and creams. One of the best uses for my homemade nut butter has to be instant milk, I take 2 tbsp of smooth nut butter and blend it with 1 ice cube and 1 cup of water until well combined – I must say I prefer to make this with smooth peanut butter for a luscious silk like creamy texture. There are a few dos and donts while making your nut butters at home and we will get that in a minute, however, it is important to mention since we are using only peanuts to make this butter we need the best we can get our hands on. I prefer getting raw peanuts with the skin on as I like to dry roast them low and slow until the entire house smells of toasty peanuts and the skins begin to shed themselves. I then peel the peanuts by rubbing them in a kitchen towel and bowl off the skins (try not to make a mess everywhere, ideally you want to do this over old news paper so you can fold up the paper with the leftover skins and chuck it out easily.
By all means it doesn’t mean you HAVE to follow this route to make your own peanut butter, you can just as well buy a bag of already cleaned and roasted peanuts. You want to make sure they are not salted or caramelized or herbed or spiced in anyway. They need to be plain roasted peanuts as we are making the most basic nut butter. While it is not necessary I do like to stir in a good pinch of salt into the butter once its done to bring out the toasty peanut flavor, I’ve also added vanilla extract, cinnamon powder and cardamom as well. In terms of sweeteners, the peanuts release their natural oils which is what turns the nuts into a butter and it does have a sweet note to it. In saying this Ive made this same recipe and added maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, coconut sugar and jaggery to the butter once blended. For the amount in this recipe I would recommend using 1 tablespoon worth of the sweetener to start with and adjust accordingly. I don’t like my peanut butter tooth numbingly sweet hence I don’t add any sweetener into the recipe. An important point to keep in mind when adding liquid sweeteners, the more you add into your nut butter the thicker it will get, therefore be mindful as you add your sweetener into the mixture. If you are feeling adventurous you could add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder or 2 tablespoons of melted dark chocolate to make it a chocolate peanut butter spread.
Let us look at equipment real quick, all you need is a blender/food processor to make a nut butter. Some people have made their nut butters in meat grinders, coffee bean grinders etc. but we are talking about blenders, mixers, food processors and vitamixers. What you do need to keep in mind is that every nut is built differently hence it possesses unique percentage of fats/solids etc hence it breaks down differently. What do I mean? Every nut will take its own amount of time to form a butter this is based on the type of nuts, the quality of nuts, the type of blender, the voltage of the blender and the overall quantity of the nuts. This recipe calls for 1/2 kg of peanuts and I am using a food processor to make the butter which takes me around 15 mins from start to finish (stopping to scrape down the sides and given my mixer a rest every now and then). If I make it in my blender it takes up to 30 mins and if I make it in my nutribullet it takes up to 20 mins. This is not a definite timeline but it is a guide for you to understand what to expect depending on your mixer. Do not be fixated on the amount of time it takes to make the butter but, be mindful of the texture of the peanuts, the warmth of the mixer (it does heat up after 5 mins of blending) and the overall look of the mixture. You will need a spatula or spoon to scrape down the sides every 1 minute or so and don’t be tempted to let the mixer run without scraping it down as you will not get an even blend/finish to the butter.
Once your butter is at the desired consistency you need to store it in a glass jar that has an air tight lid. No liquid should get into the mixture and since there aren’t any preservatives the slightest amount of any external liquid will ruin the texture and overall flavor. The butter can last in the fridge for up to 6 weeks and at room temperature for 1 week (not in direct sunlight). You can even store the nut butter in the freezer for up to 3 months if needed. Keep in mind, this recipe works well for almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans and macadamia nuts. Let us briefly look at a few important factors to keep in mind while making nut butters:
- Use raw peanut and dry roast them at low and slow either over the stove or in the oven at 170 deg C for 10-25 mins. Remove the skins and be patient while doing so.
- While blending the peanuts keep scraping down the sides every 1 minute to ensure everything is getting blended and to give your mixer a break so that it doesn’t get over heated.
- Blend the nuts for however long you think it necessary based on your desired texture, if you want the butter to be chunky save some peanuts to stir in at the end while if you want it coarse don’t over blend it.
- If you are adding sweetener, add it at the end of the blending process – be mindful on the amount of sweetener added as this will alter the texture of the butter making it more stiff/thicker.
- If you are adding flavorings, add it at the end of the blending process – this could be salt, vanilla, spices, cocoa etc.
- Store the nut butter well in order to preserve the shelf life as there are no added preservatives in the mixture.
- You can mix and match nuts to get a unique flavor and create blends of your own.
Now that we have covered all aspects of the process lets make some peanut butter! Happy blending ninjas!
Homemade Peanut Butter
- Food processor
- Glass jar (air tight)
- 500 gm Raw Peanuts
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of vanilla
- Dry roast the raw peanuts over the stove for 10 mins, low and slow until they are evenly browned and the skins are shedding from the peanuts.
- Transfer to a clean and dry kitchen towel, while still warm bring up the corners of the towel to form a bag and scrunch up the nuts with your hands. This will remove the remaining peanut skins.
- Once done, dump into a sieve and blow out the skins. You don’t want any skins in your butter hence be patient.
- Transfer to the food processor and blend for 15 mins in total depending on the desired texture (read above for more information).
- Keep scraping down the sides every couple of minutes to ensure the mixture has been well incorporated and give your mixer time to relax as well.
- Once smooth, add your vanilla and salt, blend again. Place in a glass jar and store at room temperature for 1 week, in the fridge for 6 weeks and in the freezer for 3 months.
- Be patient to dry roast the nuts, to clean the skins and to blender them into a butter.
- The timing mentioned in the recipe is an estimate this will vary on the type of nuts being used and the type of mixer being used (read above for more information)