Few kitchen projects are as simple and rewarding as making your own nut butters — in fact, you only need one ingredient and a good blender. Not only will the resulting butters be more flavorful than shelf-stable ones, you can customize the flavor and texture to suit your tastes. Slightly chunky with a touch of sea salt? No problem.
Our partners at Vitamix shared their recipe below for creamy peanut butter. The peanut butter is delicious as is, but it’s also the perfect foundation for a host of variations — scroll down for fresh ideas.
3 cups unsalted, roasted peanuts
Note: Do not process for more than 1 minute after mixture starts circulating. Over-processing will cause serious overheating to your machine!
1. Place nuts into the Vitamix container and secure lid. Select Variable 1.
2. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
3. In 1 minute you will hear a high-pitched chugging sound. Once the butter begins to flow freely through the blades, the motor sound will change to a low, laboring sound. Stop machine.
4. Store in an airtight container. It can also be frozen for longer storage.
Processing: 1 to 2 minutes
Yield: 1 3/4 cups
For a spin on traditional peanut butter, substitute nuts such as almonds, pistachios or cashews. Or try one of these variations from the Vitamix Test Kitchen:
- Honey-Roasted Nut Butter: Coat nuts with honey before roasting, then follow directions in the recipe above.
- Chipotle Nut Butter: Add a hint of chipotle powder and a sprinkle of salt for a sweet, salty, nutty treat with heat.
- Chocolate Nut Butter: Blend the nuts just until they become fluid, then add mini chocolate chips to the machine.
For another alternative, try this rich cocoa spread. Like plain nut butters, it’s ideal for spreading on toast, but it also makes a wonderful filling for crepes, pastries and other desserts. Use it as a dip for sliced bananas during snack time.
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
4 cups raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. light olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Combine sugar and water in a 3 to 4 cup saucepan. Cover and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the lid and wipe down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush or a scrunched-up paper towel dipped in water. Cover and cook for 2 minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Uncover and cook until the syrup looks like pale amber maple syrup.
3. Immediately pour the caramel onto the lined baking sheet. Tilt the sheet to spread the caramel as thinly as possible. Let harden completely, about 15 minutes.
4. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until the skins are almost black and the meat is dark brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking to ensure an even color.
5. To remove skins, wrap cooled hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel. Rub until most of the skins come off.
6. Break cooled caramel into small pieces and place into the Vitamix container and secure lid.
7. Select Variable 1.
8. Switch machine to Start and slowly increase speed to Variable 5.
9. Blend for 15 seconds. Stop machine and remove lid.
10. Add the nuts to the Vitamix container and secure lid.
11. Select Variable 1.
12. Switch machine to Start and slowly increase speed to Variable 8.
13. Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades. Stop machine and remove lid to scrape sides of the container with a spatula. Continue blending until nuts liquefy.
14. Add remaining ingredients to the Vitamix container and secure lid.
15. Select Variable 1.
16. Switch machine to Start and slowly increase speed to Variable 8.
17. Blend for 4 minutes using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
Processing: 5 to 6 minutes
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Images and recipes courtesy of Vitamix.
About the author: Olivia Terenzio grew up in Mississippi, where she cultivated a love of sweet potatoes, crawfish and cloth napkins at a young age. A passion for sharing food with friends and family led her into the kitchen and later to culinary school, where she learned how to roast a chicken and decorate a cake like a pro. As a Williams-Sonoma blog editor, she’s now lucky enough to be talking, writing and thinking about food all day.