It’s a very good thing I don’t have a peanut allergy, because I am OBSESSED with them. Yes, that is all caps.
I roasted my own peanuts because:
1- I cannot eat salted peanuts. I just cannot without suffering a very bloated stomach and it’s actually rather painful. I think it’s the preservatives in there, rather than the actual peanut or salt, that cause the reaction, but it’s just something that I don’t really like to endure, especially during the holidays when I feel like a snowwoman already.
2- Watts Grocery. They have honey roasted peanut butter on their menu and it is a thing of beauty. The texture is sandy, but it’s got peanut flavor and the sweetest honey you could find and it’s basically a perfect marriage of flavors.
3- NC grows peanuts. Kickass peanuts, I might add. And local groceries carry bags of raw shelled peanuts (I buy Aunt Ruby’s- but the bag looks like this). This means I can roast my own peanuts, and it is so easy and fun to roast your own.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Fill a baking tray with raw peanuts. Just fill the whole tray as much as possible- and use a baking tray with edges so peanuts don’t roll out!).
- Roast for 15 minutes. Rotate, roast for 10 minutes. Take out of oven and use a spoon to turn over/move most of the peanuts. Put back in oven and roast for another 10 minutes. Rotate and roast for another 5-10 minutes, until peanuts are a golden brown (more tan than they were). Let them cool in tray- they will make a crackling noise and they are still cooking.
The trick here is to roast peanuts as much as possible without burning them- and your experience may vary, depending on oven conditions and the amount of peanuts (the more there are the longer it takes for roasting).
And now for peanut butter, if you have any roasted peanuts left over! You’ll have to remove the skins from roasted peanuts, which is not terribly hard if you watch a movie while doing it- just remember not to EAT them (and I recommend not eating a lot of peanuts in one sitting…your stomach will thank you, I promise). This makes a wonderful, addictive peanut butter, and our favorite method is to dip small bars of dark chocolate in it and call it dessert.
Peanut Butter (adapted from Not Without Salt)
- 1 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1/2 tsp salt (add 1/2 tsp more for a total of 1 tsp if you like sweet and salty)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 TB honey
- 1/4 cup peanut oil (you can use less than this amount, if you want your peanut butter not to be oily).
- In a food processor (or Vitamix), blend all together until mixture looks smooth. You may have to push the peanuts down during the blending.
- Taste the peanut butter- if it is not sweet enough- add more honey to your tasting. You can store peanut butter in the fridge- it will keep for a while (a week, though it gets consumed less than that).
Now you have all this peanut butter, what do you do? Why, you make peanut butter cookies- a great alternative to holiday cookies. Plus, it has no flour so it is a great gluten-free alternative. Just a warning: this recipe is very, very easy, and very, very good and you will consume more cookies than you think you will eat. Trust me on this one.
Peanut Butter Cookies (adapted from the Kitchn)
- 1 cup peanut butter (see above; you could also use a no-salt, no- sugar peanut butter like Valencia peanut butter)
- 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup golden brown sugar (Trader Joe’s)
- 1 egg (Fickle Creek Farm)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp vanilla (or omit if your peanut butter already has vanilla)
- Additional turbinado sugar for rolling
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Beat and cream sugars into peanut butter. Add egg and mix, then add baking soda and vanilla. Mix well- you should have a firm dough.
- Roll out balls with a teaspoon (you really want to make as many cookies as possible- they disappear fast and due to the sugar content, you want them as small as possible :) and dip them in sugar. Place on a baking tray with parchment paper on it- the cookies will stick! If you want, you can flatten them with a fork to make a cross-wise pattern (I find it helps to wet the fork between cookies).
- Bake 10-12 minutes or until the cookies darken a bit.
- Let cool- this is an important step! The cookies will be soft and fall apart when warm. They crisp up very nicely when completely cooled.
Depending on how you roll (ha), this makes 18-70 cookies.
Or if you want a no-bake peanut butter holiday treat, you could make buckeyes. I used goat milk powder because it was all I could find at the store- and I got a slightly tangy taste, which was great for making treats that were not overly sweet (and the buckeyes are known for being very, very sweet).
- 1 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 3/4 cup local honey for goat milk, or 1/2 cup plus 2 TB for cow milk
- 1 cup nonfat powdered milk
- half of a big bar of Trader Joe’s pound plus dark chocolate
- Mix peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk together. Taste to see if it is appropriately sweet.
- Roll into tsp-sized balls on wax paper-covered baking tray and chill in fridge.
- Melt chocolate over a double boiler and dip the peanut butter balls into them (I used a small ladle, but you could use a toothpick for dipping).
- Chill for a few more hours. If you are using homemade peanut butter, advise your recipients to eat the buckeyes first or place in fridge.
If you still have peanuts left over (3-5 lbs of roasted peanuts make a LOT of peanut butter), you could make a healthier option- peanut butter granola balls. I used puffed kamut instead of rice krispies because again, that was all the store had and because I thought it sounded healthier (ha).
Now go have fun with peanuts!