Ever since I saw stations to make your own nut butters start popping up in supermarkets like Safeway and Whole Foods, I knew it was something I had to try at home. And you should try it too because nut butters are really fun to make! Making nut butter at home gives you control over the ingredients that are added, and it gives you the freedom to experiment with different types of nuts and flavors. But this post focuses on making plain, all-natural peanut butter. And you only need one ingredient…PEANUTS!
The first step to making any nut butter is to toast your nuts in a pan over medium heat or in the oven. This step brings out their oils and makes your butter extra flavorful. Be sure to toss the nuts frequently so they don’t burn. Your peanuts are toasted when they take on a golden color and you can smell their nutty goodness. I have a fool-proof rule for knowing when food is done cooking: The Nose Knows! And my nose knew when my nuts were toasted because my apartment started smelling like a circus, minus the elephant poo. Then, put your nuts in a food processor, and turn it on.
It takes a while for the food processor to turn peanuts into peanut butter. After about 30 seconds, your peanuts should be broken into small crumbs.
After about 30 more seconds, your nut crumbs should start clumping together. If your nuts are still warm from being toasted, then you’ll get the most wonderful wafting scent whenever you open the food processor to check on their progress. You should also take the time to scrape the sides and bottom of your food processor to make sure all the nut crumbs are exposed to the blade.
30 more seconds and your nuts should start forming a ball. It’s taking an amazing amount of restraint to keep from blurting out the joke that is begging to be written.
Finally, after all that processing, your nut ball should melt into creamy peanut butter without oil or anything else added!
I’ve made cashew and almond butters before, but I found that those nuts don’t contain enough natural oil to form butters on their own. To get the desired consistency, you have to slowly drizzle in some neutral tasting oil until the butter takes the form you want. You can also use this method to make cashew, almond, and other nut butters, but because they contain less oil than peanuts, you have to process them for a longer time. For example, it took about 5 minutes of processing to make a recent batch of almond butter- SO DELICIOUS! With all nut butters, however, you should experiment with adding different flavor components like salt, cocoa powder, or jam. I made a particularly good batch of cashew butter with a dollop of orange marmalade.
After your nut butter is finished processing, transfer it to an air-tight container and store it in the fridge. Last but not least, let your favorite pup lick your spatula clean…