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Homemade Peanut Butter 101 (Also, Pecan Butter, Almond Butter—Really, Any Kind of Nut Butter)

The following 101, on making your own nut butter (homemade peanut butter, pecan butter, pistachio butter, almond butter, you name it), comes from HOMEGROWN’s flock tender, Jennifer, who eats her weight in PB&Js on a weekly basis.

 

 

Whether you’ve used that grind-it-yourself doohickey at a fancy grocery store or whether your only experience with making peanut butter is unscrewing the jar lid, good news: Homemade peanut butter is easy to make. Crazy easy. Like, if you’ve never attempted any sort of kitchen DIY before, this is the project for you.

 

For one thing, homemade nut butter is failsafe. For another, it’s delicious. For another-nother, although the recipe is customizable to your heart’s content (Honey? Sure! Cinnamon? Why not?), the only two required ingredients are nuts and salt, and if you’re on a restricted-sodium diet, you could probably skip the second one. Finally, this method works for all kinds of nuts: peanuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews, walnuts, whatever.

 

For the purpose of experimenting with different add-ins, I made two varieties of nut butter, peanut and pecan, both using the same basic process. I chose my nuts via a simple calculation: I eat PB&Js at least three days a week for lunch, and thanks to a Texas mom who buys bags of pecans harvested along the San Saba River and distributes them to friends and family (daughter included) each year at Christmas, I always have a stash in my freezer. But enough explanation. It’s lunchtime!

 

 

HOW TO MAKE PEANUT BUTTER OR ANY NUT BUTTER

Makes about 1 ½ cups or 12 to 13 ounces (think one jam jar)

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: INGREDIENTS

» 2 cups raw, shelled peanuts

» ½ tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

» 1 Tbsp neutral oil (optional)

» 1 Tbsp honey (optional)

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: TOOLS

» Baking sheet

» Food processor

» Spatula

» Jar

 

 

WHAT TO DO

1. Toast the nuts. This isn’t crucial, but it adds delicious, nutty flavor. I wouldn’t make a pie without toasting the nuts, so why make peanut butter that way? (If you don’t usually toast your nuts when making pecan pie, give it a try.) Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Pop them in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring once or twice.

 

 

2. Dump the toasted nuts in your food processor while they’re still warm. Pulse a couple of times, just until the nuts are roughly chopped. If you want chunky peanut butter, spoon out a big dollop and set them aside.

 

 

3. Run the food processor for 2 minutes solid before pausing to scrape down the sides. At this point, the peanuts will start to clump up and begin to resemble very dry peanut butter.

 

 

4. Repeat, running for 5 minutes this time before scraping down the sides.

 

5. Add in the salt, oil (for creaminess; I found 1 Tbsp to be plenty but you might like more), honey (or cinnamon or another sweetener, or skip this altogether), and pretty much anything your heart desires. Try not to drive your peanut-butter-loving pets delirious with hunger.

 

 

6. Blend 2 to 5 more minutes, until the peanut butter reaches a consistency you like. Add more seasonings as desired. If you set aside a chunky spoonful, stir it back in now.

 

 

7. Scrape your peanut butter into a container. If the finished product is still warm from the oven or from all that whirring in the processor, let it cool completely before sealing and refrigerating.

 

Your peanut butter will keep for several weeks in the fridge, although you might—totally selflessly, of course—want to taste-test your creation. We spread ours on homemade bread with some strawberry-fig jam made by my mom and gobbled it right up. So creamy. So rich. So. Darn. Good. (Keep reading for tips and pics on making pecan butter, below.)

 

 

HOW TO MAKE PECAN BUTTER

Makes about 1 cup, or 8 ounces

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: INGREDIENTS

» 2 cups raw, shelled pecans (whole or pieces)

» ½ tsp kosher salt

» dash of cinnamon (optional)

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: TOOLS

» Baking sheet

» Food processor

» Spatula

» Jar

 

 

WHAT TO DO

1. Second verse, same as the first: Preheat the oven to 350 and spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Pop them in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring once or twice.

 

 

2. You know what comes next! Pour your toasted pecans into the food processor and blend for about a minute before pausing to scrape down the sides. Run for 10 minutes more.

 

 

3. Add the salt, cinnamon, and any other mix-ins of your choice. Because I wanted the pecans’ natural earthiness front and center, I chose to skip any sweeteners.

 

 

4. Blend a couple of minutes more, tasting to adjust the seasoning.

 

 

5. Because pecan butter comes out creamier than its peanut cousin, you can pour it straight into a container, helping guide the good stuff with a spatula as needed. If your pecan butter is still warm, let it cool completely before screwing the lid on the jar and refrigerating. This, too, should be good for several weeks.

 

 

And that’s it! Really, this whole 101 could be distilled to the following steps: toast, blend, add seasonings (or not), blend some more. (But this way we got to spend a little quality time together.)

 

 

» SEE THE WHOLE SHEBANG AS A SLIDESHOW

 

SPEAK UP!

Got a nut-butter secret ingredient or a tip to share? Post it below and keep the conversation rolling! You might also be interested in 101s on making cultured butter or regular butter, chocolate syrup, and homemade extracts. You can always find more things to cook, preserve, plant, grow, make, craft, and blend in the HOMEGROWN 101 library.

ALL PHOTOS: JENNIFER

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