Saturday, March 26, 2011

Peanut Butter

There was a bag of peanuts sitting on the counter, going to waste, so why not? I own a food processor.

Joyfully, Alton Brown has a recipe for peanut butter. Even better, it's almost exactly the recipe I would have attempted if I hadn't looked online for one. Unfortunately, shelling peanuts takes a very long time. While Alton would probably prefer you grow your own in the backyard, I vote for buying shelled, roasted nuts. Light or no salt. Either that, or get yourself some unpaid child labor to shell them for you. You won't have to check on them for at least an hour.

The chili powder came about because I thought the peanut butter was a little too sweet. Instead of adding more salt to balance it, I realized that there is no rule saying you can't make flavored peanut butter. You could add red pepper flakes, a few drops of liquid smoke, or a savory herb like cumin. A small amount of dehydrated fruit, like banana chips or apricot leather, makes it a breakfast spread. The key is to keep the amount of additive to a minimum, so no one is exactly sure why this batch tastes unique.

I'm going to make this recipe with cashews for Passover, so I can have a KLP nut spread. (Use vegetable oil instead of peanut.)

And for those of you who say that peanut butter is not a "dip", you've never seen Papa Smurf go at a jar.

*6 oz shelled, roasted peanuts
*3/4 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp chili powder
*1 Tb peanut oil

1. Place peanuts, honey, salt, and chili powder in bowl of food processor. Process until mixture begins to clump up, about 1 minute. Warning: the first few seconds are VERY loud.

2. Add oil 1 tsp at a time (3 tsp total), processing for 1 minute each time. If purée is still too thick, add 1 more tsp, but be careful. The purée will thicken when you store it in the fridge, but return to a more fluid state if you let it sit on the counter for a while before using.

3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Makes 3/4 cup

Variation: For Chunky, reserve about 1/4 C of peanuts. After last processing, add reserved nuts and pulse briefly until desired chunkiness is reached.

Difficulty rating  π

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