make jam in a slow cooker, it seems only fitting that its companion in this illustrious category should be peanut butter.
I’m not sure what I did wrong, or if I even did anything wrong. As one of my everyday cooking challenges, I decided to try making my own peanut butter in my fancy new food processor (aka Archie). I looked up some recipes, all of which seemed perfectly straightforward: grind some cooked peanuts until they turn into peanut butter. Add seasonings as desired. Eat. I bought some dry-roasted peanuts (I figured that, if my first experiment was a success, then next time I could maybe try roasting the peanuts myself.) I put two cups in the food processor and turned it on.
At first, all seemed to be going well. Archie and the peanuts made a huge racket as they got to work on the grinding process. After a couple of minutes, I had a mass of ground peanuts that could best be described as fluffy: nice taste and texture, but I was looking for something smoother and creamier. I kept going. And going.
After another little while had passed, the peanuts started to extrude oil. A lot of oil. At least one of the recipes I had read mentioned this stage, and positively. It still didn’t look quite like what I had in mind. I kept going, to see what would happen next. At some stage I poured in some maple syrup, for a bit of sweetening.
Not much happened after that, except that more and more oil appeared and the peanut butter got more and more solid. I ended up with a very hefty, solid block, with the consistency more of chewy caramel than of anything remotely resembling butter at any temperature.
Is this how it’s supposed to be? Has my idea of the proper texture of peanut butter been hopelessly warped by too many years of eating Skippy? I may be corrupted now, but I ate only all-natural peanut butter growing up; I remember it being a lot firmer than Skippy, but I don’t remember being able to cut it in slices.
Since I could do just that, I decided to apply the make-lemonade principle and use this weird texture to my advantage. (But I’m still looking for clues on where I went wrong….)
Chocolate-covered peanut butter lumps
Isn’t that an evocative name? I was going to be all foodie-esque and call them something like “Peanut butter morsels”, but I really detest the word morsels. Plus, let’s face it—that’s what they are. They’re pretty tasty though; I definitely recommend making them next time you have some really chewy peanut butter available. (And I bet it would also work well with some refrigerated Skippy, if that’s more your thing.)
100 g/3 oz chocolate of your choice*
1 dozen lumps peanut butter
Melt the chocolate until you have a thick, smooth paste.** Dip the peanut butter lumps in, one by one, turning to coat completely. Place on a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment and leave to harden. Serve to unsuspecting family and friends.
* I used some leftover Valentine’s Day milk chocolate hearts, with about a teaspoon of cocoa and a tablespoon of cream stirred in at the end to achieve the desired taste and consistency.
** I used the slow cooker as usual—less risk of burning that way.