Life seems to be one never-ending change. Every time I feel settled, or feel sure-footed, I find myself (happily or otherwise) on the other side of my plan. Growing up all over the country should have given me a good sense of change, but it still surprises me when I wake up and find myself somewhere new…somewhere that I had been worried about never reaching for years…or somewhere that I thought for sure I’d never be…or somewhere that I’d only ever dreamed of being. At the moment, all of the change in my life is wonderful. I feel like I’m on a cloud, and there is nothing better than a salty, crunchy, amazing snack to make a good day even better. That (and the 50,000 leftover peanuts from our wedding) prompted me to try my hand at making my own peanut butter.
Once I knew I wanted to make peanut butter, I (naturally) started pinteresting. There isn’t as much info on this topic as you’d think…or maybe just not as much as I’d like. I felt like it really couldn’t be that hard though, so after browsing and deciding on Honey Roasted Peanut Butter, I tossed caution to the wind and started shelling peanuts with all the confidence in the world that I’d end up with some Smucker’s Organic Chunky Peanut Butter level of goodness. For any of you who have had said Smucker’s Peanut Butter – you know what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, you don’t always end up where you expect. I’d give an exact recipe for this…but seeing as how it did NOT turn out as expected OR as desired, I’ll just give you the run down. I took a lot of peanuts and shelled them while snacking and tossing one or two to Wally the pug as I went. He’s great company in the kitchen. I took these peanuts and tossed them with honey and salt. Then put them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roasted them for 15 to 20 minutes. I had read a few things that stated 20, and probably ended up snatching them out of the oven at about 17 minutes (they started to smell suspiciously toasty). Now…I’m not sure who decided that 20 minutes was the time to go with…because my peanuts were VERY roasted…as in TOO roasted…but still unsure of what was right and what was wrong – I barreled ahead. I tossed all of my roasted peanut butters into my food processor with a little extra honey and some canola oil. I assumed that if I wanted chunky-ish peanut butter – I just wouldn’t process them for quite as long. After blending and blending and chopping and blending in the food processor, it started to resemble edible peanut butter. After a bit longer, I was convinced that it was as blended as it was going to get. The color was suspiciously dark…and much deeper than the peanut butter I was attempting to emulate. I stopped to taste…and taste again…and taste a third time. My mouth was confused I suppose I’d say. It was certainly peanut-y…it had the lovely earthy, syrupy flavor of the honey, and it had the saltiness that I love so much. But overwhelming all of those delicious flavors was the obvious and less than pleasant taste of burned peanut. And maybe burned honey. One of the taste testers I recruited into eating a spoonful of my confusing concoction said it reminded them of boiled peanuts.
After starting out with SO much confidence that this would be a breeze, I ended up in a totally unexpected place. My Honey Roasted Peanut Butter wasn’t inedible but I wouldn’t use the word “good” to describe it. Like any plan-gone-wrong, however, I did learn quite a bit, and I’m fairly positive that I know where I went wrong. I’ve researched more since then, and come to realize that the peanuts only need to be roasted for about 5 minutes to heat up the oils and get them ready for the food processor. I’ve also learned that just because you feel like you’ve processed enough, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have. Next time – I’ll be roasting them for a shorter time, processing for a longer time, and saving a handful of my roasted peanuts to toss in at the end, adding the crunchy factor I am looking for to the creamy, butteriness of my finished peanut butter.
Life is about rolling with the punches, adapting to your environment, and learning from your mistakes. I can’t wait to try this again and see if I can reach the delicious flavor and texture that I’m dreaming of. Change is a good thing. Stay tuned.