Americans love peanut butter; our taste buds and statistics prove it. We buy it often and outlay a pretty penny to consume it regularly. So, it seems odd to me that there is not a great deal of product variety readily available at the grocery store. There are several brand names that offer Smooth or Crunchy, traditional or natural; but you have to really drive around town to find flavored peanut butters. If you want a specialty peanut butter flavor, you should expect to spend some time hunting down a (small) local vendor and pay twice the amount of a national brand. Or – you can make your own delicious peanut butter that is healthier than most store bought brands and more affordable than a specialty product. Around the holidays, I like to make (and gift!) homemade honey cinnamon peanut butter. The recipe is simple and you can alter it to suit your taste.
I enjoy making my own peanut butter. Depending on my current diet or cravings, I can quickly make a batch of natural peanut butter, separate it into smaller lots and flavor each lot accordingly. Homemade peanut butter is healthier than store-bought because homemade lacks preservatives and additional oils. It can also be more affordable if you have access to bulk peanuts. A downside to homemade peanut butter is shelf life; because it lacks preservatives, homemade peanut butter should be consumed within a week or two – depending on what flavors you combine with the peanut butter. But, your peanut butter will be so delicious that it will likely be devoured before shelf-life issues can even arise!
Peanut Statistics: The average American consumes more than six pounds of peanut products per year, grossing over 1.5 billion pounds annually of peanut products consumed nationally. 90% of Americans have peanut butter in their homes and together we spend nearly $800 million on it annually. (Source: http://nationalpeanutboard.org)
Save some money and improve your diet with homemade peanut butter!
- 1½ c. peanuts (roasted, salted, or unsalted per your preference)
- 8 tbsp. honey (any flavor)
- 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil (or peanut oil)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 baking sheet
- Food processor with metal blade
- Thin spatula
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Airtight jar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Evenly pour the peanuts onto the baking sheet, forming one thin layer of peanuts across the surface.
- Bake the peanuts on the center oven rack for about 8 minutes. Check the peanuts and shake the baking sheet slightly every 2 minutes. Do not let the peanuts burn or stick to the sheet.
- After the peanuts have completely cooled, pour them into the food processor and begin to chop them up. Continue chopping/grinding until the peanut butter has a small-grainy texture. TIP: if you prefer chunky peanut butter, retain about 1 tbsp. of peanuts to add to the peanut butter at the end.
- Scrape the peanut butter down off the sides of the processor. Add the honey and cinnamon to the peanut butter. TIP: Do not add all the honey and cinnamon at once. Add in small quantities, further chopping the peanuts and mixing the ingredients gradually, and taste it as you go until you achieve your preferred flavor.
- Taste the peanut butter and add salt if necessary.
- Smooth peanut butter should form a ball when properly chopped. If your peanut butter still seems too dry or grainy, add vegetable oil (or peanut oil) in 1 tsp. increments, mixing ingredients in between each addition of oil. Do not exceed 1 tbsp. of oil. TIP: Healthier or “natural” peanut butter only uses the peanut’s natural oils; if you do add oil, try weaning yourself off of additional oils with each batch you make.
- If you are making crunchy peanut butter, add the remaining peanuts to the peanut butter and chop slightly.
- Once the peanut butter obtains your preferred consistency, transfer it to an airtight container for storage. Refrigerate for 1-2 days so that it sets.
- Serve as a spread on toast or muffins or as a dip with apple slices or celery.