Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter FB title Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

There are few foods yummier than peanut butter.  Covered in chocolate, hidden in smoothies or eaten straight out of the jar, many people eat it even on a daily basis.  Entire cookbooks are dedicated just to this one ingredient!

Today my friends, we take it up another notch.

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Another reason to consider making homemade peanut butter:  the deforestation of the earth because of palm oil.  This is why Trader Joe’s natural peanut butter will state “palm oil sourced from sustainable sources” on the back.

Plus, homemade peanut butter can be made crunchy or smooth.  You can whip up peanut butter any time of day you have a craving… and the best part is?  We found something even tastier!  Honey Roasted Peanut Butter!

Whole Foods and Fresh Thyme grocery stores have their own peanut butter machines.  You press the button and freshly made peanut butter oozes out into the empty container for all your peanut butter needs.  Honey Roasted runs $3.99 per pound.  Regular peanut butter runs $2.99 per pound (at Fresh Thyme).  The savings are pretty negligible to say the least when making your own peanut butter with just peanuts.  But, these stores are far away and the drive is no where near where I drive.  So – to save gas and time, I make my own.

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Made too much?  Fresh peanut butter on sale?  NO worries.  Freeze it!  Peanut butter will freeze just fine 🙂  Just like real butter!  I always freeze real butter.

So, buy that jar of Honey Roasted peanuts for about $3 (less than $3 at Aldi!)  and try making your own honey roasted peanut butter.  It will be hard to go back to regular.

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Storage:  Store in an airtight container.  You can use the peanut butter immediately.  You can store it in the pantry for up to 1 week.   Ours never lasts that long, but for longer storage than 1 week keep it in the fridge.  For even longer storage, keep airtight in the freezer for a few months.

Don’t like peanut butter?  Need almond butter?  Cashew butter?  Try the same recipe with different nuts!  Or your own combination of nuts.

Mary Ellen’s All Time Favorite Lunch Sandwich:

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Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 1 and 3/4 cup peanut butter
Ingredients
  • 3 cups unsalted roasted or honey roasted peanuts
  • Optional: peanut oil, honey, salt
Instructions
  1. Put the nuts into your food processor or high speed blender like Vitamix.
  2. For the food processor: turn the machine on for 1 minute. Scrape the sides down if necessary. Run the machine for 1 more minute. Scrape the sides down. Run the machine for just 1 last minute. During this last minute, add a tablespoon of peanut oil or drizzle of honey or 1/4 tsp. of salt if you wish. The peanut butter will be soft, thick and glossy.
  3. For the Vitamix, turn the machine to 1. Slowly, turn the machine up to 10. Use the tamper to press the peanuts towards the blades. In about 1-2 minutes, you will have yummy creamy peanut butter! Once the peanut butter becomes smooth and the blades move freely, turn off the machine. Scoop out with a scraper.

 

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

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I saw homemade chocolate syrup online and figured, No, this can’t possibly work.  But it does.  I stopped buying Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup because of the high fructose corn syrup which is like the first or second ingredient.  I have another recipe from “Baked: 10 Simple Ingredients” for homemade chocolate syrup if anyone wants to try it out.  I’ll post that one below as well.  I haven’t made anything from their recipe books as of yet, so I can’t tell about their reliability.  I’ve noticed that some restaurants that make “at home” cookbooks change the recipe drastically when making it at home.

The Verdict:  We all LOVED it.  William thought it made awesome chocolate milk.  I don’t think I could eat with a spoon (I don’t care much for chocolate a lot anyway), but thought it was delicious on our vanilla ice cream or anything else we could dip into the homemade chocolate syrup.

Why make it?  Well, you won’t have nasty stuff in your syrup.  It is SLIGHTLY cheaper to make your own.  If you use good quality cocoa, you break even.  If you use cheap, Aldi cocoa powder, then you’ll save about $1.  *Update* Per one reader, this is 34 calories per tablespoon per myfitnesspal.com – which is a lot less than Hershey’s.  It is more than the sugar free version, but that one has a ton of preservatives.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
yield about 2 cups

1 and 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Put your saucepan on the stove and dump in the sugar, cocoa and salt.  Mix that up a bit.
2.  Add your water.  Stir.
3.  Boil the mixture and stir once in a while while it comes to a boil.
4.  Turn it down to medium/medium-low and cook 1 minute.  It should be at a simmer.
5.  Take the pot off of the burner and add the vanilla.  Cool and put in the fridge.

**Some people had problems with crystallization and added light corn syrup to the recipe.   I stored my syrup in the fridge in a glass jar and had NO problems with crystallization at all.  I shook up the jar before serving… just for kicks.  But really that was it. **

Here is what was in the “Baked” recipe book:  Add 1/4 cup dark cocoa to 1/2 cup water on medium heat to dissolve.  Whisk in 1 cup sugar and raise temperature to medium-high.  Boil 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add 1/4 tsp. salt.  (I have an inkling this would taste better with vanilla???)

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Original recipe from Glorious Treats

Blueberry Applesauce

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Our local grocery store has a flyer every so often filled with recipes and I really enjoyed this one.  It was written by Leslee Holliday, Matt Holliday’s wife.  He is a left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Or was… I don’t keep up with sports.  But anyway, Leslee also studied nutrition and came up with a few recipes which are quite delicious!

You could use this in a yogurt parfait, or eat it straight, or put it in a little green pouch, or put it in a Sili Sqeeze bottle, or  use it in recipes.  I like our Sili sqeeze bottles.  My only dislike is that my 6 year old cannot open it himself.

Blueberry Applesauce

3 cups of peeled, cored and chopped apples (I used Empire b/c they were on sale, but whatever as long as it isn’t Granny Smith)
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen because well, they aren’t in season right now!)
1/4 cup apple juice
3 Tb. brown sugar (I found this to be optional and tasty even without)
1 tsp. lemon juice
pinch ground cinnamon

1.  In your saucepan, add your fruit, juice and brown sugar if you are using it.  Put it on medium-high and get it boiling.  Once it is boiling, cover it and simmer 15 minutes.  Stir once in a while.
2.  I used my food processor, or you could use a blender or immersion blender to make this into a puree.
3.  Pulse until pureed.  Add you lemon juice and cinnamon.  Stir, cool, and eat!  Store covered in the fridge.

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Chocolate Glaze

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Pin this for use around Valentine’s Day!

This glaze was used on a 9″ round chocolate cake from the super duper moist cake recipe that I cut in half.  My husband is trying to lose weight and instead of trying to substitute low fat items in a cake, I simply reduced the calories in the topping instead.  I’m not sure how it works in chocolate cake, but I know applesauce used instead of oil in a yellow cake is pretty gross.  My husband will pretty much each anything, except chicken livers, and he wouldn’t touch a cake with substitute applesauce.

You could use this to glaze donuts, bundt cakes, cookies, your fingers – whatever you wish!  This glaze has got “Big Plans!  Big Plans, I Say!”  Well, not really.  But that book by Bob Shea is Juliana’s favorite right now.

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup of glaze

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tb. butter
1 Tb. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Put the chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup into a microwave safe bowl.  Cook 30 seconds.  Stir and see if the chips are melted after stirring 30 seconds.  If still too chunky, microwave in 15 second increments until the chips and butter are just almost melted.  You don’t want to burn the chocolate.  I always have a few chunks that I stir and stir and finally melt at the end.

2.  Add the vanilla extract.

3.  Drizzle or dip to your heart’s desire!

**I used about 1/3 of this recipe for barely covering a 9″ cake as shown above.**

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

I found this trick in one of my Alton Brown books.  It is how I make all my caramel popcorn and such, but never realized to put it on Whisk Together.  Since the FDA has asked the popcorn manufacturers to “voluntary” stop using chemicals that are potentially harmful in their popcorn bags, this was a nice alternative.  The counterargument is that the brown lunch bag being used is not food grade safe.  Although one does put their lunch in there…. it is in the microwave, so I will keep using this trick until I get an popcorn air popper instead.

Microwave Popcorn

yields 4 cups

1/4 cup of popcorn kernals (Orville Rederbacher worked the best – I tried the off-brands and they weren’t as fluffy)
1 brown paper lunch bag

1.  Take the kernels and put them in the brown lunch bag.  At this point, fold the top over twice.  If you are afraid of the popcorn popping out, staple each end making sure the staples are 2″ apart.  The staples will be okay and NOT catch fire.  I promise.  I have done this like 25 times.
2.  Or, you could fold the bag over and stand it on its end if that will fit.  That way the popcorn stays in the bag.
3.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  The pops will be 3-4 seconds apart once it is ready.  In my microwave, this is always 2 minutes.  I tried 2 minutes and 30 seconds once and ended up with burnt popcorn.

The original Alton Brown recipe suggested to add a tablespoon of brown sugar and “see what happens.”  Yeah…. nothing much happened.  I threw it away because it tasted bad.  Sorry, Alton.

Homemade Baked Donuts

** Previous Post Updated ** The Lemon Meringue Pie I had posted earlier in November has now won FIRST PLACE in the National Beekman Heirloom Recipe Contest.  Yeah Shirley!  Here is the post in case you missed it so you too can make award winning pie!

It is snowy and very cold here.  The windchill was so low that we stayed in most of the day.  Perfect time to try and make baked donuts!  I had been eyeing a donut pan for a while, but the King Arthur recipe required that plus a few other special ingredients I don’t own.  This recipe is all common ingredients that most of us have in our pantry AND doesn’t require a donut pan!  Though the heart-shaped donut pan at Target was awfully tempting and cute.  You can have your own donuts in as little as 2 hours.

This is simply a sweet yeast dough recipe and you can add any topping you like.  My favorite was powdered sugar.  But you can add cinnamon sugar, chocolate or white frosting, etc.

To get milk or water warm enough for yeast I think most people go by touch.  If you happen to have a fever gun like the Fever Watch I have, you can change it from “body temp” to “surface temp” and use it to take the temperature of your milk.  Cool beans!

I also read after messing up a couple times in previous bread recipes that if you forget the salt, don’t worry especially if it is a sweet bread.  Simply knead it in when you remember (hopefully before the final rise!) and you can still recover your bread.

*****UPDATE*****
I successfully made this dough in the bread maker!!!  I was pressed for time and the ingredients are cheap, so I figured why not try this in the bread machine?  I worked!!  I added my wet ingredients, then dumped 3 and 1/2 cups flour in a heap.  Then, stick your finger in the hill of flour to pour in the yeast.  Hit “dough cycle” and DONE.

I also made these the night before and did not do the 30 minute rise towards the end.  Instead, they sat in the fridge covered overnight and I baked them right from the fridge.  Worked like a charm.  So, you don’t need to make the dough the morning of.

***UPDATE 2016****

These donuts can be made with half AP flour and half white whole wheat.  Feel free to divide it up as much as you like.  I also added 1 Tb. vital wheat gluten to the dough mix with the white whole wheat flour.

Also, this makes about a dozen donuts – too many for our family of 4.  So to keep us from eating them ALL in one day (note to self!), I froze them in the freezer.  Yes, already coated in sugar, cinnamon, etc.  The next morning, just pop your donut into the microwave for 30 seconds. You will need to add more time if you have more donuts to heat up.  But 30 seconds was perfect for our standard size circle donut.

Homemade Baked Doughnuts
yield 14-16 donuts  … or in my case feeds a family of 4 for ONE day  😉

1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk, 115 degrees (warm)
1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups flour, divided
1 stick of butter (4 oz.), cut up and room temperature

Coating:
6 Tbs. butter, melted  (or trans fat free margarine)
coating: powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar (1 cup sugar and 1 Tb. cinnamon)

1.  (See alternative above**)  With the paddle attachment on the mixer, at medium speed mix the egg and sugar together until combined.
2.  Add the milk, yeast, salt and vanilla.
3.  On low speed, add 2 cups of flour and mix.
4.  Change to your dough hook.  Mix and add the stick of butter in little by little.  Make sure it is incorporated.
5.  Slowly add another 1 cup of flour.  You want the dough to be pulling away from the bowl and not sticky.  Adjust your flour accordingly, but mine hit the mark at a total of 3 cups.  One time I made these it took 3.5 cups.  Allow the dough hook to knead for you until smooth – about 3-5 minutes.  (The flour is dependent on your temperature, the humidity in the air
6.   Now cover your bowl and let it rise for 1 hour.  I try to find the warmest place in my house for this part.
7.  Punch the dough down and roll into 1/2 ” or so.  The thickness is up to you and what you want to do with your doughnuts.  For traditional circle hole doughnuts, use a 3″ cookie cutter (or biscuit cutter) and then cut out another 1″ hole in the middle.  I don’t own a 1″ hole cutter, but my melon baller worked just fine.  Pull the dough apart and make the hole a little bigger or the donut will close in on itself.  Feel free to use cookie cutters, etc.  Have fun.  The donut holes are good too so don’t throw those away!  We used snowflakes, circles and gingerbread man cutters.
8.  Put your doughnuts on a greased or lined cookie sheet.  (See alternative above**)  Allow to rise again 25-30 minutes covered.
9.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake normal 3″ donuts for about 8 -10 minutes.  The donut holes took about 5-6 minutes.  My huge donuts took about 10 minutes.  Just watch and when they are light golden brown they are done. They’ll be mostly golden – they don’t need to be completely brown because the bottoms of mine were medium brown while the tops were light to medium golden.
10.  These cool really fast.  Put them on the cooling rack and begin your toppings.
11.  To coat the donuts, brush or dip into melted butter.  Shake or toss in your coating.  Or frost or dip in glaze.  Alton Brown has a few donut glaze recipes here and here.

Topping Ideas:

Into a brown paper bag (or a big bowl):
1.  Powdered sugar
2.  1 cup sugar and 1 Tb. cinnamon

or use frosting or a powdered sugar/milk glaze or anything you like!

Recipe adapted from Doughnuts by Lara Ferroni

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