Now I’ve always liked good old peanut butter, but my Irishman is a hard-core aficionado. To say he loves the stuff is a massive understatement. So it’s not really surprising that over the last month or so, our place has seen a lot of experimenting with homemade PNB.
My peanut-perfectionist still has plans for further research, but I suspect it could last a life time. So I thought I’d share with you the findings thus far. So much tastier than commercial peanut butters, and without the additives.
And while we’re talking PNB, I have treat for you as well in the form of super-simple little chocolate tartlets taken to a new level with a thin layer of homemade peanut butter. Sweet yet salty, smooth yet crunchy – serious adult fun.
secret number 1:
use peanuts in their shells
The best way to guarantee the freshest peanuts is to shell them yourself. It takes time but can be quite therapeutic, especially if you share peanut shelling over a glass or two of vino.
secret number 2:
keep the skins on
One of our first experiments was a skins on v’s skins off competition. No question about the results, for flavour it’s skins on all the way. Not only do they add visual interest with the little flecks, they’re also adding fibre. Don’t you love it when the tastier option is also a little healthier?
secret number 3:
use the best quality you can find
We had a comparison of cheap peanuts from China and peanuts from Queensland. I suspected there was going to be a difference in flavour but I can’t tell you how bland the cheaper peanut butter was. As always, you get what you pay for.
homemade peanut butter
Depending on the power of your food processor, you may not need to add any or all of the peanut oil. We’ve found that using a little Bamix, it just wouldn’t cope without some oil to loosen things up. Best to add a little as you go.
This can be hard work on domestic motors so be careful not to put too much stress on your mixer of choice. If it is struggling, it’s a good idea to reduce the amount of peanuts in the bowl, or add a little more peanut oil.
If you like your PNB super crunchy, just coarsely chop a handful of shelled peanuts and stir them through your butter at the end.
roasted peanuts in their shells
Shell peanuts, keeping the skins on. Whizz until the peanuts form a thick paste, adding a little peanut oil at a time to help the mixing process.
Taste and season well with sea salt.
[5 ingredients | simple baking]
little chocolate pnb tartlets
The secret to these tartlets is using milk chocolate, an idea I pinched from the boys at Bourke Street Bakery. Normally I’m a dark-chocolate-or-nothing type of girl, but with the saltiness of the peanut butter, the sweeter caramelly flavour of milk chocolate works a treat. Just don’t skimp on the quality of your chocolate.
If you find your chocolate starting to ‘split’ or go all grainy, stir through a tablespoon or two of cold cream and stir vigorously until it’s smooth again – A trick I had to use recently when I was making these tartlets on the weekend.
I’ve found that it takes a little bit of practice to get your tartlet-shell-forming skills honed. Expect to have a few breakages in the beginning.
If you can’t get your hands on digestives, any plain sweet cookie would work. For the Aussies reading, Butternut Snaps are brilliant and a lot easier to form into shape.
6 digestive biscuits (cookies) + extras
3 teaspoons peanut butter
100g (3 1/2oz) milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup pouring cream (35% milk fat)
Preheat oven to 200C (400F).
Bake 3 digestives for 2 minutes. Carefully, using a tea towel to protect your hand, place one digestive face down and use a soup spoon to gently bend into a shallow tartlet shell. Place on a tray to cool and repeat with remaining cookies, until you have 6 little shells.
Carefully line each shell with about 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter.
Place chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to the boil and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Spoon chocolate evenly between the prepared shells and sprinkle over a few sea salt flakes if you like.
Allow to cool for a few hours until chocolate is set. If you’re short on time, chill in the refrigerator but your chocolate will loose some of it’s gloss.
on breadshoes – sean’s panaroma in bondi.