My husband and I have been really pondering lately how to save money as well as eat more healthy, especially having one child already and another child on the way. We've been really interested in learning how to make foods, even staples, from scratch. Not only does it usually save money, but it also makes us feel better as parents knowing that the foods we make have no preservatives in them. One thing we've learned to make recently is homemade peanut butter. Now, peanuts can be expensive, but we were able to find them on sale for $1.00 a pound, and the normal price were we can get bulk isn't much more than that. One pound of peanuts will make a normal jar of peanut butter. So, $1.00 for a jar of peanut butter -- and preservative-free -- that's a deal in my book! And making it is super easy. Really. Honestly. Super easy!
Buy a pound of shelled peanuts -- either roasted or not. We've made the peanut butter both ways -- with roasted and unroasted peanuts, and in our opinion, roasted peanuts make MUCH better peanut butter, and you don't have to add any oil this way. My husband had already roasted them when I came home one day, so I don't have any pictures of that. Simply, lay the raw shelled peanuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Stir once or twice during cooking. You want them to be brown, but not burnt.
I had my 16 month old helping me during the process of making the peanut butter. As you can see, he desperately wanted to eat some of the peanuts, so I had to be quick to keep his hands out! I used a pound of peanuts, but did it in two batches, so each picture is half of the batch (the final picture is the whole batch). You can see in the picture the peanuts after being roasted. Put half the peanuts in a mixer. Keep your child's hand out of the mixer please! With the lid on, start the mixer and let it go!
This is my son watching the peanuts in the mixer and signing "eat"! He couldn't wait to try it out!
Before it all starts clumping up together, add whatever you want. I added a little salt and honey, but you can also add some syrup or cinnamon if you want. As you can tell from the picture, the peanut butter will start to clump up but keep it going!
My child thought this was all fascinating!
As it continues to mix, it will start to break down the clump of peanuts and make this lovely paste. The more you mix, the creamier it will be.
The final product! Filled the whole jar! My son LOVED it! Kept signing "eat" and "more" :) Just remember to keep it in the fridge. See how easy it was! And peanuts was the only ingredient...other than your add-ins, of course.
Now, I want to share with you my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. I hate making cookies because they never come out right, unless they are from a mix. The butter is so hard for me to cook with -- never can "soften" the butter just right. But this recipe is incredibly easy and you can use your homemade peanut butter in it! You only need four ingredients: 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 egg, and whatever add-ins you want (I used cranberries in this batch, but you can use raisins or chocolate chips, or nothing!).
Just combine and mix!
In preheated oven at 350 degrees, just drop the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and cook for about 11-14 minutes, depending on their size. You can make about 12 small cookies or 9 larger cookies. I made these cookies a little too big, but they were still wonderful!
I asked my husband what he thought about them, and he loved them. He couldn't believe their wasn't any flour, butter, eggs, etc in these because they taste just like regular peanut butter cookies!
Hope you enjoy!