If you've never actually made peanut butter yourself, you might not quite understand just how ridiculously easy it really is. Peanuts go through a few transformations on their way to becoming spreadable and delicious peanut butter. At first, the mix will look crumbly and dry at the bottom of your food processor, but don't be put off, let the blender continue to work its magic and it will soon start to resemble heavenly peanut butter.
After about three minutes of blending, you might be tempted to stop and reap the rewards of your labor - but we recommend that you keep on going. The reason for this is that in the next minute or two, something magical happens. What was perfectly good peanut butter before suddenly becomes that little bit smoother - the stuff dreams are made of.
Just so that your expectations are not too high, you should be aware of the fact that homemade peanut butter will never be as smooth as the commercially prepared stuff. To make it as smooth as possible you can add some oil (peanut oil or another oil) and use a powerful blender or food processor. Toasting the peanuts before use also helps as this warms the oils within the nuts and helps everything blend together more easily. Furthermore, toasting the nuts gives your peanut butter a deeper and richer flavor.
Makes about 1 and ½ cups.
1. Heat the oven to 350°F and toast the peanuts on a baking sheet until they are golden brown and glossy with oil - should take around 10 minutes. You can skip this step if you have decided to make raw peanut butter or if you're using pre-toasted peanuts.
2. Transfer the peanuts into your food processor or blender. If you toasted your nuts, make sure to do this while they are still warm. If you want to make chunky peanut butter, remove ½ cup of chopped nuts and set aside.
3. Blend the nuts continuously for 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. At this stage, the peanut butter will look gritty and dry.
4. Blend for a further minute, then stop and scrape down the sides. At this point the butter will have started to clump together. It isn't quite peanut butter at this stage, but it's definitely getting there.
5. Blend the mixture for another minute, then stop and scrape down the sides. The mix will now be glossy and soft, like very thick peanut butter.
6. Sprinkle the salt, oil, sweetener, and any other extras over the top of the peanut butter.
7. Continue to process the butter until it completely smooth. As mentioned earlier, homemade peanut butter will always be more gritty than the commercially bought stuff, but it should be spreadable at this point. Taste, and add more salt or other add-ins if you feel that they are needed. If you reserved some nuts for chunky peanut butter, add them now and pulse a few times to mix.
8. Scrape the peanut butter into some sort of storage container, cover, and refrigerate. The peanut butter can be used immediately and will keep for several weeks if kept in the fridge.
Photos: Emma Christensen