Pimp those breakfast spreads and learn how to make your own delicious peanut butter from scratch in six easy steps. Food writer, Malou Herkes, shows you how.
Some shop-bought peanut butters are packed with stuff we’d rather not put in our bodies, from palm oil to tonnes of added salt, sugar or additives. Making peanut butter yourself is an easy way to know exactly what you’re eating, and it also means you can play around with the flavour, how much salt you add and even the nuts you use, from almond to cashew to hazelnut.
That’s not to say there aren’t many wonderful ready-made peanut butters out there these days, and well worth trying out too. Manilife and Pip and Nut both put a lot of effort into sourcing their peanuts and with ingredients lists that contain 99% nuts and just a pinch of salt, they’re both great shop-bought alternatives.
Add your own favourite flavours
Making your own nut butter means you can control the flavours you add to it. We all have our own preferences and if you’re feeding kids, it’s a good way to get them involved and invested in their own healthier breakfast spreads. Make a hazelnut butter with a little melted dark chocolate for a healthier chocolate spread alternative, for example. Add orange zest to make it even better. Try blitzing chilli flakes into your peanut butter for a hum of heat. Make a vanilla and cinnamon almond butter, mix in salted caramel for something decadent or experiment with maple syrup or honey.
Skin on or off?
Leaving the skin on is totally fine. I find it adds nice flavour, but it may be a bit bitter for your taste. If you want to use skinless peanuts, transfer the toasted nuts to a sealed jar and shake well, then pick out and discard the skins. You could also experiment by using 50/50 skin-on and skin-off peanuts.
Here’s how to make peanut butter in six steps:
To make peanut butter you’ll need an oven, a food processor, a bag of unsalted nuts, a little oil and salt, and about 30 minutes. Here’s how you do it.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place 250g of unsalted peanuts on a baking tray, then roast for 10 minutes until browned and smelling nice and toasty. Keep an eye on them as they can turn very quickly.
Transfer the peanuts to a food processor with a pinch of sea salt.
Blend until they resemble crumbs. If you want crunchy peanut butter, scoop out a cupful and set aside.
Keep blending until the peanuts start to break down. It can take a while so stop at intervals and allow your processor to cool down if it’s over-heating.
You’ll see that it’ll start to clump. That’s good. Keep going!
The mixture will clump into a ball. Keep going until it starts to go smooth and creamy, but still a bit gritty. At this point add a tablespoon of oil. This will help to make a smoother butter. The more neutral the oil – such as sunflower or groundnut – the less you’ll taste it. Coconut oil, sesame oil and walnut oil can add a tasty dimension to your butter so experiment with what you have to hand.
Scrape down the sides with a spatula and blend for another minute or so until super-smooth. Taste and add a little more salt or some sweetener, such as honey, if you think it needs it. If you’re making crunchy peanut butter, add the reserved crushed nuts, then pulse to incorporate.
Spoon your peanut butter into a clean, airtight jar. Spread on toast for a healthy breakfast, try it slathered on a slice of banana bread, make it into icing in this indulgent vegan nutty chocolate cake or use it in place of tahini when making hummus. Store at room temperature for a couple of weeks.