Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter: Standing Up to the Man

Friends, it’s time we head back to the lab. In the past, we’ve done cookie experiments, international Kit Kat experiments, muffin experiments, macaroon experiments, puff pastry experiments…you name it. Well, today, you’ll need to break out your notepads, pencils, and goggles for yet another test. This time, we’re testing one of my favorite things…in the world. Peanut butter. It’s about time, isn’t it?

When you head to the store, you’ll see that there are about a million nut butter products lining the shelves. Peanut butter, almond butter, sun butter, cashew butter…the works. Not to mention, the amount of products quadruples when you consider buying organic vs. natural vs. name brand vs. store brand. It’s a tricky decision for a girl to make early on a Sunday morning, while all of the granny…I mean old-souled….shoppers of Shop Rite, are breathing down your neck. 

A few years ago, I made the decision a bit easier for myself. For me, if the label includes any other ingredient besides nuts and perhaps a bit of salt, it’s off the list. I mean, hey, if I can’t pronounce what’s in the peanut butter, should I really be eating it? The problem is, the more pronounceable the ingredients, the more costly the bill. For quite some time now, I’ve been slave to the peanut-selling man, but NO MORE. Why? Because making your own nut butter is SO easy, and SO much more cost efficient. Plus, you can add just about any flavor you’d like. 

Today, I wanted to mix up my normal peanut butter routine, and try out a honey roasted variety. But, soon into the planning process, I got stuck. This is how this morning’s daily conversation with myself went…

Adventurous Erin: Let’s go crazy! Let’s do honey!

Cautious Erin: “But, but…which peanuts do I buy?” 

Adventurous Erin: “Honey roasted, of course!” 

Cautious Erin: “Doesn’t that break our rule about nuts? You know, the whole “clean nut” policy?” (Please, hold your snickering.)

Adventurous Erin: “Well…there’s got to be another way.”

And, here is where we’ve landed. Today, I tried making the cleanest version of this peanut butter, without sacrificing on flavor. Just to be safe, this required a few trials. First, I made the butter with the store-bought, sweet and delicious, honey roasted peanuts. While they may be delicious, I’m not sure exactly how much “stuff” they add to make them taste that way. But, because their taste will be the most familiar, that butter is the control. To do this, I simply added the peanuts to my BRAND NEW heavy duty food processor, and pulsed until the nuts were roughly chopped. I continued to pulse until the nuts were finely ground, and then until they were a thick, pasty butter. I had to scrape down the sides a few times, and pulse for about 3 minutes for the mixture to be done. Butter 1, check!

Next, I made my own honey roasted nuts! This way, I knew exactly what went into making them honey flavored. To do this, melt a bit of butter and honey together and mix with your nuts. Then, toss in the salt. Spread the mix onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, so that the they aren’t touching. Bake in a 350 degree oven, for about 9-10 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Make sure you stir at the 5 minute mark! Once you take them out of the oven, stir until they cool. Otherwise, you gonna have some sticky nuts. Ain’t NOBODY got time for sticky nuts. 

To make the peanut butter, use the same steps we used before for the control mix. If you are having trouble getting the nuts to come together after about 3 minutes of pulsing, add in about a tablespoon of a neutral tasting oil (like peanut or canola), to help the process along. Butter Dos, cocido!

Last, but not least, a happy medium. For this final version, I made the butter by pulsing the dry roasted peanuts on their own…using the same steps as above. Then, once they were in butter form, I added a generous tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of salt. Then, I pulsed a few more times to combine the flavors, and the last butter was complete!

Testing time! To be honest guys, at least some of the results surprised me! First, I tried the control peanut butter. As I expected, the pre-honey roasted peanuts were just a bit too sweet for me. Now, don’t get me wrong…I have nothing against sweetness. BUT, if we’re going to call this honey roasted peanut butter, the sweetness should taste honey-like. Right? Well, it did not. Not really, anyway.

Next, I tried the second version, in which I had roasted my own honey flavored nuts. I was SURE this was going to win! And, you know what? Not bad! But, for some reason, the nuts had more of a subtle honey flavor than I expected. Maybe the double roasting did that? Either way, they had a great salty and sweet balance. It just took a few seconds until the honey because really obvious. Between the first two peanut butters so far though, this was the top. 

Last, I went with the version in which I had pulsed dry roasted, unsalted nuts, and then added in the salt and honey once they were peanut-buttery. GUYS. This honey taste was ON POINT. Originally, I thought that adding honey at the end would have been a cop-out. But really, it gave me the most bang for my buck! By adding it at the end, the flavor had nowhere to get lost. Plus, not having to roast the nuts beforehand was a great time saver. 

In the end, I’d say that Version 2 and 3 were both winners. If you’re looking for a saltier and more subtle sweet flavor, go with roasting your own honey nuts first. If you’re really looking for that honey flavor, first and foremost, add it at the end. I’ll include directions for both in today’s recipe.

There you go folks. You now have no excuse to be slaving away to the peanut-selling man, any longer. Take back the power; make your own peanut butter! Speaking of taking back the power, next week, I’ll show you what I end up making to celebrate my own damn birthday. Because, I can! Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!

Erin 

UPDATE!: As the butters spent time in the refrigerator, each being used a bit at a time, the texture of the third version (adding the honey in at the end), changed a bit. The honey, when put in the refrigerator, stiffens up a bit. So, you’ll need to really let that come to room temperature before it’s spreadable. (But, if you eat it by the spoonful like me, go ahead and just eat it right out of the refrigerator!)

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter
Two ways to make your own homemade, honey roasted peanut butter!
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Version 1
  1. 2 cups unsalted, roasted peanuts
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 tablespoons canola/peanut oil (optional)
Version 2
  1. 2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
Version 1
  1. Melt butter and honey together. Mix with peanuts and salt.
  2. Roast at 350 for about 9-10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes. Continue to cook until the nuts are golden brown.
  3. Remove from oven and stir until cool.
  4. Once cool, put peanuts into a high-powered food processor. Pulse until peanuts are chopped.
  5. Continuously pulse until the peanuts turn into a finely ground mixture, then into a thick peanut butter. Scrape down the sides if necessary.
  6. If peanuts are not processing into a butter consistency after about three minutes of processing, add a tablespoon, or two, of a neutral tasting oil.
  7. Refrigerate peanut butter for up to three weeks.
Version 2
  1. Put peanuts into a high-powered food processor. Pulse until peanuts are chopped.
  2. Continue pulsing until the peanuts turn into a finely ground mixture, then into a thick peanut butter. Scrape down the sides if necessary.
  3. Once peanut butter is a thick consistency, add in honey and salt. Pulse a few times to incorporate the new flavors throughout.
  4. If peanuts are not processing into a butter consistency after about three minutes of processing, add a tablespoon, or two, of a neutral tasting oil.
  5. Refrigerate peanut butter for up to three weeks.
Notes
  1. When refrigerated, the peanut butter may appear to have hardened. To soften and loosen the oils, take the peanut butter out about 15 minutes before using it.
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