Thursday, April 17, 2014
Sticky fingers- homemade peanut butter
Pebbles likes peanut butter. I mean she really, really likes peanut butter. When she was smaller, the only way I could keep her entertained long enough to get the dishes done was to feed her peanut butter toast with her breakfast. Those sticky toast soldiers kept her busy for a solid 10 minutes. The only issue I had was that she'd be hollering for her food before I'd had my coffee, and I'd by gamely trying to spread peanut butter and pick out all the peanut chunks (we're chunky peanut butter lovers here) so she wouldn't get one stuck in her tiny throat, and I'd be losing my damn mind because of the crying and not being able to move fast enough to stop it... No more. When we moved into the new house last week and I was packing the last of the kitchen staples at the old place, I took the opportunity to chuck that last tablespoon of chunky peanut butter at the bottom of the jar, just so I wouldn't have to move it. This morning I was making my shopping list and started to put peanut butter down, but got to thinking about a pin I'd spotted recently. According to the blogger, homemade peanut butter was as easy as throwing peanuts in a food processor and turning it on. Now, I remember homemade peanut butter from when I was a kid growing up in the 70s, and it was not the rich, smooth, delightful spread she touts in her recipe. I remember gloppy, grainy, oily nastiness that use to drive me to beg my mom to just buy Jif. She didn't try to make it again, but she stuck with Laura Scudder's Natural for years. It had this inch thick slick of oil on top that was impossible to stir back in. Blargh. Well, I read through her instructions and I think I figured it out, where my mom went wrong that is. If you'll forgive the pun, the sticking point is that you have to grind the peanuts down to a peanut butter-like paste, but you can't stop there. After the peanuts are all ground down and have formed a ball, you have to keep going, and keep going, and keep going. After a few more minutes, the ball suddenly disappears and you get this wonderful, smooth, liquid peanut butter. No oil added, remember? Just peanuts. The blades of the food processor go for so long that the peanut butter becomes heated. Once you pour it into a jar and stick it in the fridge, it thickens back up. No added oils, no added stabilizers to compensate for the added oils. Just peanuts, transformed. Averie Cooks I will do some things differently next time. First and foremost, I will change the peanuts I use. I liked her idea of using honey-roasted peanuts. However, there are no Trader Joe's up in Alaska. So, all I had to work with in the honey-roasted variety was good old Planters. The result? Too sweet. I like sweet, but this is dessert peanut butter. I'll be using it largely in peanut butter smoothies and shakes, and spread on tart apples. Next time I'm going to use plain dry-roasted peanuts from the bulk section at the supermarket and adding my own honey to taste. As an added bonus, it's half the cost of Planters and without all the extra ingredients. Just peanuts. Something Pebbles approves of.