In the midst of our “Like” for L.U.N.C.H. campaign this week, we were inspired to write about one of those kid foods adults love: peanut butter. One of our team members fondly remembers eating peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every day in elementary school for about 2 years. Decades later, peanut butter toast is still one of her go-to comfort foods.
Peanut butter is an American favorite, like football or apple pie, it’s just one of those cultural things we tend to bond over (excluding those allergic to peanuts, the poor souls.) In a quick office poll, it was revealed that a few of our team members actually brought peanut butter with them when studying abroad in college because they didn’t want to live a semester without it. It’s just that good!
This week we took advantage of our Anita’s Vitamix (it was so efficient!) and tried making the famous Hell’s Kitchen Peanut Butter Recipe she’d been saving for a rainy day. We wondered how expensive it would be, how difficult it would be to make, and basically, would it be worth it? A lot of natural peanut butters are really good. Jif – the number one selling peanut butter in the U.S.—is totally awesome (whether or not you’ll admit it.) AND let’s be honest, some things really aren’t that much better from scratch because of the effort or cost involved. One great example: we don’t know anyone trying to make their own Coca-Cola. Still, we gave it a shot because we were curious and because we wanted to use the Vitamix.
Here’s the recipe we used, you will find variations on the Internet:
3 cups salted nuts (We used skin-on Spanish peanuts, they worked great)
5 Tbsp honey
4 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
7 Tbsp peanut oil
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 300.
Place nuts onto a rimmed baking sheet, and place on the center rack of the oven. Roast 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees, and roast another 10 minutes. Peanuts should be dark brown when done. (Ours probably could have been darker, but the roasted flavor was still there.) Remove from oven, and bring to room temperature.
Place peanuts in food processor with a steel chopping blade, and process on low until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Do not overblend, you want the peanut butter to be chunky, not grainy. (We messed up a little here. There were a few peanuts on the top we insisted on blending. It was slightly grainy, but still good.)
Dump grounds nuts into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Add honey, brown sugar and salt. Blend on low speed until thickened; about 1 minute.
Add peanut oil and butter to food processor and blend on low until completely emulsified, about 11 seconds. Scrape oil and butter into the peanut mixture and mix on low until smoother and creamy.
Spoon peanut butter into a container with a tight fitting lid. Will keep at room temperature for up to 4 weeks. After setting for a while, some of the oil may rise to the surface. Simply mix this back in before serving.
Right after we finished making it we all gathered in the kitchen and, well, we just ate way too much peanut butter. It was a little grainy in texture and very sweet. In spite of the gluttony, it received mixed reviews from the team. We all appreciated the warm roasted flavor, but agreed we could have used less sugar because it was extra sweet and made it grainier. We thought the honey was a nice addition to the recipe because its natural sweetness shone, causing the peanut butter to taste pleasantly different than store bought brands.
The second day, the peanut butter had miraculously improved over night. (We put it in the fridge, could that have something to do with it?) It was a big hit with everyone! The flavors really blended and the oil seemed to have seeped into the mix more. Since we made the peanut butter on Tuesday, most of us have been seen eating it right off a spoon.
The total cost of the recipe was a bit pricier than we had anticipated. Leah calculated the costs of each ingredient according to the amount used and found that the ~2 cup yield recipe cost a whopping $8.86 (give or take a few cents.) This price does include things like butter and brown sugar which people often have on hand at home.
Expensive or not, the nice thing about making your own peanut butter is that you know exactly what went into the recipe. No preservatives. No additives. We would definitely recommend making the Hell’s Kitchen Peanut Butter Recipe, but maybe make it the day before if you plan to serve it to a crowd.