Peanut butter is hard to find in Vienna. Natural peanut butter (or variations thereof) is impossible to find. No matter what kind you find, it is also expensive. Like ridiculous expensive. When DH and I married a few months ago, my mom wanted to give us a “kitchen machine” for a wedding gift. AWESOME. So, we got the Kenwood Cooking Chef. In the US it’s only available through Williams-Sonoma. I ordered ours through Amazon.de, as Kenwood is a UK company and distributes freely throughout Europe. This, my friends, is the ticket to truly scrumptious and CHEAP peanut butter with zero additives, no preservatives, no sugar, no nuttin’ but nuts.
Ya got three steps to this process:
1.) Buy the peanuts: look for organic if you can find them; here in Vienna, we have a wonderful outdoor market (the Naschmarkt) where I suspect that I will be able to find some really interesting and cool peanuts from North Africa, Greece, or Turkey. When I get around to it, haha. For now, I’m buying 400g bags of in-shell peanuts at the regular grocer — it takes 1.5 to make enough goodness to fill my 16oz American peanut butter jar.
2.) Shell the peanuts: warning…it really does take a long time to do this step. If you could find peanuts in a large quantity that were pre-shelled, this would be ideal. I haven’t found them yet, but I look every chance I get! Come up with a meditation, do it while the kids are playing and need supervision but not intervention, have some friends over…just do it.
3.) Grind them up in the food-processor: Cuisinart, Cooking Chef, blender…it doesn’t matter as long as you have the wattage to achieve a great grind. With the Cooking Chef, it takes me about 3.5 minutes of pulsing to get what I want. important: Keep going. After the first 90 seconds or so, you may get discouraged and think that you need to add liquid. The peanuts will simply be chopped up and not be creamy in the least. BUT…Keep going. At about 2 or 2.5 minutes, the peanuts will begin to release their natural oils, which will smooth it all out. It’s magic.
Living in the US, I never gravitated toward peanut butter. It was sticky, gave me peanut-breath, and had a lot of calories. Even the high protein content wasn’t enough for me to be willing to be an addict. Here in Vienna, however, it has become a touchstone of my American-ness and a link to my motherland.