One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Nope, this post has nothing to do with Paula Abdul.  Instead, it has to do with my culinary successes and, sadly another failure.  First my success:  I finally baked a usable whole wheat bread.  At this point I’m not sure my success was derived from a) a new recipe; b) weighing the flour (rather than using volume); c) soaking the whole wheat flour in water for an hour prior to adding the other ingredients; or, d) dumb luck.  Once I narrow down the cause I’ll put together a more thorough blog post.

And now, my failure:  homemade peanut butter.  I love peanut butter (crunchy Jif is my favorite) and have a spoonful as a snack most days.  But with the increasing cost of peanut butter and a desire to limit the amount of sugar/preservative intake I decided to try making my own.  I found an Alton Brown recipe from the Food Network’s website that had rave reviews and decided to give it a try.  I bought a 5 lbs. bag of peanuts from Costco and set about shelling them on my back patio.

It took me 42 minutes to shell 1 lb of peanuts (1 lb of peanuts in the shell were equal to ~11 oz. of shelled peanuts).  I’m really glad I did this outside.  By the time I was done I had peanut skins and shells all over me and the ground below.

Once I cleaned up outside I headed to the kitchen to make my peanut butter.  Using my food processor I chopped, spun, and blended pound of peanuts for about 15 minutes.  Never did the peanuts turn into peanut butter.  Instead, I got a pile of finely chopped peanuts that looked a lot like quinoa.  Worse, the peanuts looked dry rather than oozing peanut oil.  Something was amiss.

As I always do when I screw up something I sought the sage advice of the interwebs (I’d probably have a higher success rate if I did this before I began a project!).  Apparently my stupidity is not unique (but I’m not sure this makes me feel better).  Others have struggled with the same problems which apparently stem from using the wrong peanuts.  The peanuts from Costco were pre-roasted and were Virginia peanuts and I should have used unroasted Spanish peanuts.  Thanks for nothing Costco!

Oh well, I learned something new so its not a total loss.  I’ll try again in a few weeks but first I need to eat my way through the remaining pounds of peanuts….

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