Monday, April 28, 2014

Homemade Peanut Butter (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free)

I'm a big peanut butter fan, and I like to make stir fries and other dishes using peanut butter in the sauce, or peanut butter cookies for my kids, or I use it in smoothies.

Unfortunately, most conventional peanut butter brands are full of unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients, like white or cane sugar, icing sugar, molasses, diglycerides, hydrogenated oils or preservatives.

Even brands labelled "natural" aren't always free of these ingredients, as many of them are natural. Evaporated cane sugar is still sugar, hydrogenated palm or other oils are natural ingredients, but not healthy or even necessary. Many of those ingredients turn a healthy food option into an unhealthy, sugary treat better suited as a dessert food.

 I do like a few brands that use peanuts as the only ingredient, but they tend to be expensive, and I really don't want to pay $8 or $9 for a jar of peanut butter. So, I took matters into my own hands! A few months ago I made some almond butter from scratch, using my old, mini food processor that was on its last legs. I needed to add a bit of oil to get things moving with that one, and just about a week later, my food processor died on me. This weekend, I went out to buy a new one.

I own a stand mixer and do have a slicing and grating attachment, but I like to have the flexibility to grind and mix things into a sauce or a paste, and a food processor is the perfect tool. It's been over ten years since I've gone shopping for one, so I was surprised at how expensive they can be!

I wanted something powerful enough to grind even dense foods, big enough to make large batches, and with a few interchangeable blades and more than one speed setting. For less than $50.

After much searching, I settled on a Black and Decker one with a 10 cup bowl, three blades, two settings, a large feeder, and a 500 Watt motor.

The price? $40. Perfect.

Its first test was to make peanut butter! I bought a 500 gram package of plain roasted peanuts, threw them in the processor with a few shakes of salt and pressed Start. After a few wipe-downs of the sides of the bowl, presto! Peanut Butter!

The texture is pretty smooth, and the peanut butter is dense, not as thin as conventional brands. I didn't add any extra oil or sugar or other ingredients, so the flavour is just peanuts and a bit of salt.

It spreads nicely, and the flavour is amazing. Most conventional peanut butters contain hydrogenated oil, which makes the butter smooth and stops oil separation from occurring.

If the oil begins to separate in your peanut butter after being refrigerated, just give it a stir. It should be kept refrigerated, so if you want it softer, take it out a few minutes before using.

I think I'm going to make some peanut butter cups with my next batch, or some cookies, or peanut butter and banana slices...


Roasted Peanuts
Salt to taste (optional)


1- Place ingredients in food processor, and blend! Scrape down the sides if ingredients get pushed up in the bowl. The peanut butter will eventually form a ball in the processor. It's finished when it reaches the texture you want.

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