It’s no secret I love all butters made from nuts. I have yet to meet one I don’t like. [OK, maybe the Archer Farm's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter...it tastes a little off.] I love them made from one nut, two nuts, even a whole bunch of mixed nuts.*
**I just turned into the Dr. Seuss of nut butter.
*OK, not really. But maybe one day.
But today is not about Nutty Butter or almond butter or cashew butter…it’s about PEANUT butter! So for today, we will go back to a time when that was the only nut butter we knew.
Although I do think there is a time and a place for buying mass-produced peanut butter from the store shelves—either for cookie-baking (the best time to use JIF), because it’s on supersale, because you are out of jars and need some new ones in your pantry, or you really just want to do a personal taste test comparing dark and light roasted….
(As you probably guessed, the light roast is a lot milder peanut flavor…the dark roast is more ‘nutty.’ Both are delicious. Thank you Santa Cruz for making it impossible to buy just ONE…because, as they say with Almond Joy and Mounds…sometimes you feel like a nut….and sometimes you don’t!)
—when it comes down to it, I really just think everything tastes better when I make it at home…in my dear, beloved food processor. [One day he will have name.]
Now, Mama Smart once asked me if buying nuts in bulk to make your own nut butter is really less expensive…and yes, yes it is. Especially in the case of peanut butter.
For a typical 16 oz. jar of nut butter, you need about 2-2 1/2 cups of nuts.
While your average jar of peanut butter costs between $2.50 and $3.00—and I did say average…I’m not talking about frou-frou brands and organic-not-tested-on-animals or even the Santa Cruz brand I showed you above—
This 2 1/2 cup bag of peanuts cost only $1.90. And they weren’t even on sale. [These were even the more expensive, Virginia peanuts, as opposed to the Spanish ones. I get them roasted and unsalted.]
Now, you can grab one of the empty nut butter jars you’ve got lying around (and I know you have ‘em) or even any old resealable container and fill ‘er up. [Please remember to scrape and lick the food processor bowl clean...but watch your tongue on the blade. Trust me.]Yet, the fun of making homemade nut butter is being able to mess around a little bit and add fun flavors or just get a lil’ creative.
Now, for whatever reason, I was thinking about my grandfather, Paw Paw, yesterday. Aside from being one of the most wonderful men who ever lived (it’s true…ask anyone), in the town of Thomasville, Georgia where he lived and practiced medicine, he was known for his skill shooting deer and catching fish, his even temper and patience, and his enormous (and I mean extremely large) collection of bow ties.
And yet, what I seem to always remember when I think of Paw Paw is his daily breakfast of oatmeal…specifically the Quaker Instant Oatmeal featuring raisins….
You may recall that the first (and only) time I ate a Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar, I thought that date-flavored Nutty Butter might be in the cards. Well, I went one better and made raisin-date-and-walnut peanut butter instead, which I now and forever will call Paw Paw Peanut Butter. Into the homemade peanut butter went 5 dates (about 1/4 cup) and 1/4 cup raisins. [Yes, those were, at one time, 'golden' raisins, but they darken over time...the sulfur dioxide used to preserve their light color doesn't last forever I guess.]After those were thoroughly incorporated, I threw in about 2 tsp. of cinnamon and 1/4 cup of walnuts.I wanted the walnuts to maintain their chunkiness, and I probably should have used whole ones to do that….but these were left over from making German Chocolate Cake so I figured I might as well use what I had!Yummers, seriously. The raisins and dates add just a subtle sweetness…and with the added little bit of salt in the beginning it makes for a fantastical flavor experience. I had to restrain myself from eating it all immediately with my fingers.You’ll note that there is a huge chunk of date that didn’t get processed…I figure that will make a nice little surprise for someone (who am I kidding…for me) one night as I have my almost-daily nut butter night time snack.
2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup (about 5-8) pitted dates
1/4 cup raisins
1 1/2-2 tsps. cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts
1. In a food processor, blend peanuts and salt until smooth.
2. Add dates and raisins, cinnamon and walnuts; process until the consistency is to your liking.
Now, stop reading and go get yourself some peanut butter! It’s National Peanut Butter Day for crying out loud! Indulge in some peanut butter porn (baby)!*
*And yes, I realize the slight awkwardness of titling a post with an acronym for peanut buttter porn in which you also make peanut butter in honor of your grandfather. I don’t think there is a Freudism for that though.
If you don’t have any PB lying around, no worries…I’ve probably consumed enough for the both of us.