Aside from those with peanut allergies, I know of very few folks who don't enjoy indulging in peanut butter, and there are probably even fewer of us that don't have memories of enjoying peanut butter as a kid. There's something basic about peanut butter, and that classic nature probably stems from the simplicity of the food.
As great (and tempting) as it is to be able to stick that spoon into the jar of peanut butter and lick it clean, there's no reason not to reach for peanut butter that's even better; peanut butter is incredibly easy to make at home and will make your taste buds even happier. When I made my first batch, I quickly asked myself why I hadn't done it sooner.
Trusting Alton Brown's experiments in recipe formation, I knew that his recipe would be a great starting point. When I concluded my early attempts, I made very few changes. I roast the peanuts without adding salt and peanut oil as Alton does, instead sticking to those ingredient in the later stage of processing. In addition, I find it necessary to increase the amount of oil necessary when making the butter. In all other ways, the recipe is as he presents it. (Click here to go to the original recipe on the Food Network web site.)
While homemade peanut butter can be made with purchased roasted peanuts, roasting is incredibly simple and provides an amazing aroma in your kitchen that makes the whole project worth the price of admission. And how else can you ensure a fresher end product? In my area, the local Weis grocery store chain sells 15 ounce bags of raw peanuts (Pardoe's Perky Peanuts, in this case) that are perfect for this recipe. The peanuts are spread in a single layer on two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. I've found that 15 to 20 minutes of roasting time at 400℉ is a reasonable roasting time, stirring once or twice in the middle. I'd suggest experimenting with how dark or light you'd like the peanuts; darker roasting pushes the nutty flavor even more forward, but there is a "too dark" line. (In the photographs in this post, I'm using a roast that probably is about as dark as I'd recommend. A few dark peanuts are perfectly fine, but you may want to roast to a slightly lighter color on your first attempt.)
The roasted peanuts are placed in a food processor with the salt and honey. I use a smoked salt and a dark, thick, local honey for interest, but feel free to use what is available to you. This mixture is processed for several minutes until the peanuts are quite crumbly. Crumbly... a great word!
Three tablespoons or so of peanut oil (That makes sense!) is slowly drizzled into the peanut mixture as it is further processed, and gradually the magic that is peanut butter will form before your eyes. How smoothly would you like your peanut butter? Your call!
I'll note that I increased the amount of peanut oil substantially over Mr. Browns' suggestion. Feel free to play with the amount until you come up with your preferred texture.
This incredibly flavorful butter will knock your socks off. The difference between it and the commercial variety is quite substantial. Eat it in a sandwich or place it in your favorite recipes, as I did in the foods shown below. Want to be a radical? Grab that spoon and eat it right out of the food processor.
Download a one page printable pdf file of my slightly adapted version of the peanut butter recipe by clicking here.
Alton Brown's Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe via the Food Network