I live in Thailand, where my kitchen consists of one rice cooker and two mortars-and-pestle. I can get peanut butter at a local grocery store, but it's cheaper, healthier, and tastier to make it myself. Here's how I do it in my minimal kitchen.
- Peanuts (a lot).
- Oil (a little).
- Almond extract
- Chili powder
This recipe first appeared on my blog: Dare(fully).
Step 1: Roast
Start by roasting the unskinned peanuts. I do not measure a specific amount of them, but use just enough to cover my pan in one layer of nuts. I do not grease the pan prior to roasting in order to keep the peanuts dry. Roast until the skins are partially darkened. Remove the nuts from heat and put them in a bowl.
Roasting the peanuts improves the taste, texture, and color of the finished product. If you don’t roast them, you’ll end up with pale, powdery stuff that resembles, but does not quite achieve, the taste of peanut butter.
Step 2: Skin/Peel
Wait about 5 minutes for the nuts to cool off.
Remove the skins. You’ll want to put skinned peanuts into a separate bowl, just to make your life easier down the road. The skinned peanuts should be partially darkened as well. This step can be long and dull, so I recommend listening to music while you skin.
Don’t worry about removing every little particle of skin. Roasted peanuts are easier to skin than unroasted peanuts. And whatever you can’t remove will get mashed into the product soon enough.
Step 3: Mash It Up
The fun step! Toss a handful of skinned peanuts into the mortar and begin mashing. Add another handful every 5-10 minutes. If you can avoid it, don’t do this step in Thailand—the humidity will soon have you sweating like you wouldn’t believe. My typical batch of peanuts takes about an hour to mash.
The peanuts will crush into powder at first. But the more you add into the mix, and the more you mash them up, the more it will start to resemble peanut butter.
You’ll know you’re nearing the end when you start to see hints of moisture on the mixture (say that 5 times fast). This means that the peanuts’ natural oil is emerging, and it is really the essential thing about peanut butter. It also means you should keep mashing for about 5 minutes to get the right texture.
Step 4: Other Ingredients
The only necessary step after the mashing is to add a little extra oil to soften everything up. I never add more than one tablespoon of coconut oil. Mix it in for a minute or so.
After that, you can add more ingredients to taste (but peanuts and oil are the only two essential ingredients). I like to add a tablespoon of honey for sweetness. I’m sure sugar, vanilla, almond extract, or cinnamon would work just as well. Or chili powder for the dareful.
Step 5: Finished!
Your finished product will look, feel, and taste like peanut butter you’d get from the natural foods aisle at the supermarket. It won’t be creamy Skippy or Jif, but it’ll be healthier and tastier! Plus you got an arm workout mashing all those peanuts.
A scrumptious treat!