Homemade Peanut or Nut Butter
1-1/2 cups nuts yield about 1 cup nut butter
You might have read recipes or articles that discuss the issues with natural nut butters, which need to be refrigerated since they contain no preservatives. Some need to be stirred because they separate. Others are difficult to spread when chilled. I remember purchasing a few brands and it happened to me. So, I decided to see what would happen if I made my own. First, I roasted the nuts to add more flavor. I decided to make it without sugar or salt, and I did not want to add any oil since nuts have enough of their own 'healthy' fats. The resulting nut butter does not separate and is spreadable even when cold, although I usually bring it to room temperature before using. I have to tell you, no matter what variety of nuts I use, the butter tastes far superior to anything store-bought, natural or otherwise. And it is so quick and easy to make. So, there is no reason not to make your own natural and healthy nut butter.
- Raw or dry roasted, unsalted nuts or peanuts (see variations and notes below)
- Salt to taste (optional)
Whether the nuts are raw or previously roasted, I like to roast them further to enhance the flavor. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place the nuts in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast until light brown, checking and stirring several times so they do not burn, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Place the cooled nuts in a processor and process until smooth, pulsing as needed to start. (Depending on the power of your processor, you may need to scrape down the sides several times before the nuts become soft enough to puree. You want it soft, but not runny.) Place in a lidded container and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Variations: You can use any nut you like to make nut butter, as well as peanuts. My favorites include almonds, peanuts and walnuts. Cashews are also very good. Sometimes, I use a combination for a different flavor.
Notes: Make certain the peanuts or nuts you purchase are raw or dry roasted and unsalted. If raw, you must roast them first to bring out the flavor. Since I prefer and am accustomed to low-sodium foods, I do not add any salt to the nut butter. You might want to taste it before removing from the processor and, if desired, add a little. Start with a pinch, as you can always add more. The longest I have stored nut butters in my refrigerator is one month, because it is usually gone in several weeks. Since it is still very fresh tasting at that point, I assume you can store it longer. You will know if it has been stored too long, as it will get a rancid odor. Despite the fact that most recipes say not to use natural peanut butter in baked goods, I use my homemade peanut butter exclusively and there has never been an issue, including the peanut butter cookies in the similar and related recipes links. That is not to say it will work in every recipe, but I would not hesitate to give it a try.