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Cooking Basics

How to make your own peanut butter

peanut_butter.jpg

Piccolo Namek

What could possibly be better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? How about one made with your own homemade peanut butter. You might be surprised at how simple it is to make your own tasty spread.

Getting started

Recipes vary, but in general, you need two things to make your own natural peanut butter: shelled peanuts and a food processor. Some recipes call for the addition of honey or agave nectar to thicken and sweeten the peanut butter; you can opt to add some kind of oil as well if you find that your mixture needs it. SimplyScratch.com suggests using grapeseed oil, while others call for peanut or canola oil. Once you see how easy it is to make peanut butter, you may be inspired to experiment with different flavors and add coconut oil, chocolate or even other types of nuts.

Roasting or selecting the peanuts

The first step in making your own peanut butter is to decide what kind of peanuts you are going to use. You can choose the pre-roasted kind or roast them yourself. Alton Brown's Food Network recipe suggests using Spanish peanuts, which have a higher oil content than other kinds, when roasting to make peanut butter.

To roast your own peanuts, preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Rinse 2 pounds of shelled peanuts in cool water and then pat them dry. Toss with 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt. Spread in a half sheet pan, making sure they are in one layer, and roast for 30 to 35 minutes. Rotate the pan after about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and let the peanuts cool slightly. Then you can take the peanuts out of their shells, remove the skin and start the peanut butter process.

If you decide to start with store-bought peanuts, you can select either the salted or lightly salted variety. If you are following an exact recipe that calls for salt, make sure to modify the amount of additional salt you add accordingly.

Directions

Place the peanuts in the food processor. If you do not have one, you can try to use a blender, but it may take longer and be more difficult to work with. After you make sure you have secured the lid, turn on the food processor. Let it run until the nuts form a paste. Stop the food processor to scrape off the sides. Turn the food processor back on until the peanuts become smooth. If the paste looks gritty, slowly add the oil while the peanuts continue to blend. Alton Brown's recipe calls for 1 and a 1/2 tablespoons of peanut oil for 15 ounces of peanuts. If you want, add agave syrup or honey while the food processor is running as well. Blend until creamy. If you prefer the chunky variation, stop blending after the peanuts reach the desired consistency, or add more peanuts than your recipe calls for.

Storage

Keep your peanut butter in an airtight container or jar. You can store it in the refrigerator for about two weeks unless the recipe specifies otherwise.