My kitchen is warm, but the light is cold. It’s dark at 5pm on a September afternoon and the wind is howling around the walls, making the room feel small and dim. It’s my little nest against the summer storm that is raging against the countryside. No vivid lightening is dancing across the sky, and no flashes of sun between the clouds. It’s been dull and gray-blue for hours. For a while, I thought I would stay in my nest. Wrapped in a blanket with a cup of raspberry leaf tea, letting the rain on the roof lull me into sleepiness. But something about a summer rain makes me feel too alive to sleep. I wanted to be on the porch watching the clouds roll, and anyway, I was hungry. I needed something comfortable and slow to suit the weather, and I wanted salt. I always want salt. After my disastrous attempt at peanut butter a few weeks ago, I had put it out of my mind, but today brought all my cravings for something crunchy and thick and salty back with a vengeance. Why not.
I sat at my kitchen table with a full view of the destruction taking place outside, across from a very curious, hungry, sleepy, adorable pug. He sat very politely and spoke volumes with his big beautiful eyes, telling me how desperately hungry he was. With Rosi Golan singing in the background, making me feel romantic and nostalgic, I shelled peanuts, tossed a few to my starving, furry, doe eyed friend, and reveled in the coziness of my nest. Shelling the peanuts took the longest, but it was meditative and lovely and quiet. After roasting them (only 7 minutes this time), I processed them, breaking the noise of the storm with the harsh, unnatural sound of the food processor.
Outside on the front porch – my very first front porch – I fell in love with the muted, cold light, and soaked in the feeling of just barely being chilly for the first time this summer. The air was thick and wet and smelled amazing, and goose bumps covered my arms. Maybe all of these things came together to convince me that this honey roasted peanut butter was the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my entire life…but I don’t think so. It really was amazing. It is amazing. Creamy, buttery, heavy, crunchy, textured, salty, and sweet. And did I say cheap? Why do we buy peanut butter, when in 15 minutes you can have all you want for next to nothing? Cross peanut butter off my grocery list…I really didn’t want to go out anyway. My nest and my honey roasted peanut butter were quite perfect for my stormy, late summer afternoon.
Honey Roasted Peanut Butter
Yield – 4oz
1.5 Cups Peanuts (shelled)
1 Tablespoon Honey
A pinch of Salt
A drizzle of Canola Oil
Preheat your oven to 350F. Shell your peanuts so that you have a cup and half (or buy pre-shelled peanuts). In a medium sized bowl, toss the peanuts with 1 tablespoon of honey. Spread the peanuts evenly on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast for 5 minutes. If you want crunchy peanut butter, set aside a small handful of the roasted peanuts. Scoop remaining (or all for creamy) peanuts into food processor with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of canola oil (you can add more honey as you go if you prefer sweeter/less peanutty peanut butter). Pulse for 1 minute and scrape the sides. **Continue to pulse and scrape until your peanuts reach a buttery, creamy consistency. If you are making crunchy peanut butter, throw in your extra handful of peanuts now and pulse a few times to break up. Scoop into a 4 oz, airtight jar and store in your fridge for 2 months, or at room temperature for 2 weeks. Remember – like anything else you make at home – the shelf life is dependent on temps, containers, etc, so if it looks and smells good – eat it! If it looks funny or smells funny – toss it.
**If you have a fancy, high powered food processor, this step should only take you 5 minutes of pulsing/processing. I have a Ninja, which works great, but isn’t super fancy or powerful. My peanuts reached true peanut butter consistency at the 15 minute mark. Please don’t give up before it gets really buttery. You’ll plateau out in the middle of processing and be convinced that it is as creamy as its going to get…but keep going. A transformation will happen at the end and you’ll have your perfect peanut butter.