Gastrobabble

A quest for gastro-liberation, an excuse to buy more cookbooks…

Peanut butter

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It isn’t hyperbole when I profess my love for peanut butter. Were gluttony and decorum no consideration, I would probably work peanut butter into every meal humanely possible. I’ve been known to put it into stir fries; dip chocolate or celery sticks into it; or just idly eat it from the jar whilst I’m waiting for the kettle to boil.

I adore the salty/sweet play of flavours with English peanut butter (let’s not talk about the American oversweetened stuff). It’s the combination which I love in other things: salted caramel; chocolate covered pretzels; compost cookies. And now that I’ve made my own peanut butter, I love how cheap and easy it is to make.

All you need is a food processor. Seriously. And not even a worktop food processor. (I am not fortunate enough to own one nor have the space for one.) I used the mini food processor attachment on my hand blender which handily makes just enough for one jar. Oh and on a jar note: I’m a crazy jar hoarder. I collect, clean, sterilise and scrape labels off year round. It’s worth it once you get to Christmas. If you’re not as nuts as me, TK Maxx and DotComGiftShop sell cheap jars of all sizes.

It’s an ideal thing to make for Christmas gifts because it’s stupidly simple to make; incredibly cheap; and unlike chutney or jam, it is something that on the whole, most people love (though perhaps, not as obsessively as me…)

Homemade peanut butter
The recipe given is the basic template for peanut butter. Well I say “recipe”. That’s too fancy a word for what it really is. Anyway, add what you like to it! For chocolate spread, add melted chocolate. You could also make a boozy version using Frangelico, coffee liquier or Bailey’s. You could go festive with apple purée and cinnamon. Or use honey roast peanuts. Or even different nuts all together, cashew makes a particularly lovely buttery, um, nut butter.

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Ingredients
Salted peanuts
Golden syrup
Sea salt flakes

Throw all your peanuts into a food processor. I am not fortunate enough to be equipped with a food mixer stand, nor the space for one so I used the mini food processor with my hand blender (it’s the one you can use to finely chop herbs and onions. Or in my case make breadcrumbs. Lazy, I know.) Basically all you need to do is blitz until it turns into a smooth, creamy peanut butter. It will go from chopped nuts; to a doughy ball; to a grainy paste; and then miraculously, a smooth, runny peanut butter. Add in a touch of golden syrup to balance out the flavour and then a generous sprinkle of sea salt flakes to add a bit of textural crunch. Transfer to sterilised jars whilst still warm and runny.

Notes on variations
Adding in any flavourings like alcohol will cause the butter to seize up but do not fear. The runny smooth consistency is mainly due to the heat from the food processor. So add in your flavourings and then blitz for a few more minutes to warm it up and fully combine.

To make chocolate spread, simply stir in melted chocolate. I went for milk chocolate but I suspect dark would work well too. If you want to make a true Nutella substitute, then use skinless hazelnuts in place of the peanuts.

Finally, for crunchy peanut butter, stir through a handful of whole peanuts once processed.

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Author: Hong-Anh

Climb aboard the Good Ship Gastrobabble as we voyage upon the unchartered waters of my neglected cookbook library (and muddle my metaphors faster than a KitchenAid on full-speed).

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