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flavored peanut butter

How to Make Your Own Flavored Peanut Butter - The Nickel Pincher

Flavored peanut butter is all the rage. Here's how to get the variety without the extra calories (or cash).

By Jean Nick


flavored peanut butter

Take a stroll down your peanut butter aisle the next time you're at the grocery store, and you're likely to be overwhelmed at all the varieties of flavored peanut butters that have cropped up in recent years—cinnamon raisin, cocoa-tinged, raspberry-flavored… The options seem endless.

Before you buy a big jar only to find out it's too sweet, full of weird preservatives or "natural" flavorings, or you get sick of the flavor before you reach the bottom of the jar, give your own flavors a try. If you have a food processor or a blender it is amazingly simple to make your own fresh, healthy peanut butter—in any amount—and add any flavors that appeal. And don't just stick with peanuts. You can also do this with almonds or any type of nut or seed you like, and the whole process takes less than 10 minutes, including clean up.

For the purposes of this article, I'm going to stick with peanuts mostly, starting with an easy recipe for making homemade peanut butter (but keep reading for the hazelnut-based Nutella alternative at the end!). Buy the tastiest nuts you can buy, whatever type you like the taste of: raw or roasted, lightly salted or unsalted.

Simple Nothing-but-Peanuts Peanut Butter
Makes about 1 cup of peanut butter

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups organic peanuts
pinch salt (optional)

Directions:
1. Place peanuts in your food processor or blender and blend on high for 3 to 5 minutes. They will make an awful racket for a few seconds and then progress through chopped peanuts to a fine meal to a ball that whops around and eventually subsides into a grainy butter and, if you blend it long enough, a quite smooth one. A couple of times during blending, use a rubber spatula to push down what gets stuck to the sides of the bowl.

2. When it as smooth as you like (I like mine with some texture), taste and add salt if desired, pulsing to blend in the salt. Scoop into a glass jar with a lid, and store covered for up to two to three months at room temperature or twice that long in the fridge.

Make it crunchy! Proceed as for Nothing-but-Peanuts peanut butter, but put only 1 1/4 cups of the peanuts in the processor or blender to start with. When the peanut butter is about as smooth as you want it, add the reserved peanuts and pulse a few times to the break them into crunchy pieces.

Cinnamon-Raisin Peanut Butter
Makes a little more than 1 cup

Make a batch of Nothing-but-Peanuts peanut butter. When it is finished but still in the processor bowl or blender add:
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup organic raisins

Pulse until the cinnamon is thoroughly mixed in and the raisins are chopped. You can also mix in the cinnamon first and then stir the raisins in by hand to keep them whole.

Peanut Butter Cup Spread
Makes about 1 cup

If you like peanut butter cups, this spread will rock your morning! Start with good quality chocolate—milk, dark, semi-sweet—it’s your choice.

Ingredients:
1 cup organic peanuts
1/2 cup organic chocolate (chips or broken bits of bar chocolate)
½ to 1 Tablespoon organic peanut oil or other mild vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or other extract (optional)

Directions:
1. Put the peanuts and chocolate in the processor or blender and blend until it starts to form peanut butter.

2. Add the oil—less if you're using milk chocolate, more with dark chocolate—and extract if using.

3. Continue to blend until it's as smooth as you want it. The results initially will be runny, but your butter will firm up after a few hours.

Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
Makes about 1 cup

This recipe is for people, like me, who like Nutella but not some of the ingredients in it. The higher the cocoa butter content of your chocolate, the silkier the final product will be.

Ingredients:
1 cup organic hazelnuts
1/2 cup organic chocolate chips (milk chocolate will give a Nutella-like flavor)
½ - 1 Tablespoon organic hazelnut oil (or other mild vegetable oil)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or other extract (optional)

Directions:
1. Toast hazelnuts in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 2 to 4 minutes until they just start to turn light brown to bring out their flavor.

2. Process the hazelnuts in your blender or food processor. After a few minutes the mixture will still be mealy. Go ahead and add the extract, if you are using it, and the oil—less if you are using milk chocolate, more with dark chocolate—and continue to process until the meal pulls together into a ball. If it doesn’t, add a little more oil and continue.

3, Continue blending until the spread is smooth. It might seem gloppy at first, but it will firm up after a few hours. It may not get quite as smooth and glossy as commercial Nutella, but the flavor is truly awesome!

These recipes are just starting points, but feel free to get even more creative with your own favorite combinations. A good ratio to work with is two parts peanut butter to one part fruits and berries; add too much of an additional ingredient and the peanut butter won't hold together as a spread. For powders and spices, use one tablespoon for each cup of peanut butter you're doctoring up.

Also, if you're adding fruits, which have a high water content, you'll want to store your peanut butter in the fridge. You won't need to worry about that if you're using dried fruits and spices.

Farm gal, library worker, and all-around money-pincher Jean Nick shares advice for green thrifty living every week with Rodale News.

Filed Under: THE NICKEL PINCHER

Published on: April 30, 2014



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