Monday, February 28, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter

Here in France, as you already may know, they eat a wonderful chocolate hazelnut spread called Nutella that is a household and food stand staple. It is commonly put on crêpes, toast, baguettes, croissants, and waffles. They have it for breakfast a lot even though they consider it more of a dessert item. I haven't met one French person-or even one American person-yet who doesn't like the spread. For breakfast the French usually keep it fairly simple and prefer to go all out for dinner. Every morning my host mom puts all the breakfast items on the table and I chose what I want to make...and I almost always make something with Nutella. Here are a couple different ways I eat it for breakfast.

1. Nutella on toast (w/ bananas sometimes)
2. Nutella and jelly toast sandwhich
3. Nutella on crêpes (really, really good with bananas)
4. Nutella and peanut butter toast sandwhich (w/ bananas sometimes)

So option #4 is basically the whole point of this blog post because the French don't eat peanut butter! Why would they when they already have a delicious, chocolaty spread of their own. As much as I adore Nutella, I missed eating peanut butter for breakfast in a similar fashion as I do with Nutela now. I told this to my host mom and she tried looking for it in the grocery store, but couldn't find it. If they even have it it is probably in a foreign foods isle and a brand like Skippy. I like Skippy and those other brands of course, but I prefer to eat natural or organic peanut butter to avoid the hydrogenated oil and overload of salt and sugar. Yuck! This is when I told my host mom I could make some myself, after all it is super easy to make and probably less expensive.

The recipe I looked at to begin with was Alton Brown's from ( Here is the recipe that we actually used, since cooking measurements are different.

1 500g bag of roasted peanuts in shells (les arachides d'Amerique)
1 coffee spoon of salt
1 1/2 coffee spoon of honey
and enough sunflower oil to get the right consistency (sunflower oil is commonly used for cooking in France and had no effect on the final peanuty taste, so I'm guessing vegetable could work too)

Remove the peanuts from their shells and skins and place in a food processor along with the salt and honey. Blend it for about a minute or so. Then add a little bit of oil at a time, while blending it. The mixture should be spreadable and smooth. Ours wasn't as smooth as store bought brands, but that could be because the food processor we used is old.

The peanut butter turned out great and my host parents really enjoyed it. My host dad found it especially interesting that you can put it on celery (ants on a log!) because Nutella doesn't go with vegetables at all. He also thought it was funny when I mixed it with Nutella, but I told him that chocolate and peanut butter is another common combination in the US (resse's peanut butter cups!). It was fun to show them the American equivalent to Nutella, and I definitely recommend making your own peanut butter! Super easy and healthier for ya!

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