Sunday, June 10, 2012

Peanut Passions

I don't know about you but when I travel for any long extents of time I start to miss some things from back home. For many people who travel they might miss their family, friends, pets, activities, or a variety of other things, I however miss all those and I have really missed PEANUT BUTTER! Based off of my extreme desire to have peanut butter this last week I decided I needed to head to the market and see what I could find. I guess I should clarify really quick, yes in Peru you can buy peanut butter in the stores but it costs about 25-30 soles for a super small jar, that translates into about $10 for a weeks worth of peanut butter. Anyways, I went to the market this past week and bought half a kilo of skinned peanuts for 4.5 soles which is less than $2. At that point I was super excited and couldn't wait to cook with them. Then I realized they didn't have the right taste that I was hoping for and so I needed to doctor them up a bit to make them taste good by roasting them. Below you will find the process I used to transform the peanuts from a skinned and tasteless version into a delicious roasted treat! Unfortunately after roasting my peanuts and finally getting to the point of making peanut butter I had eaten too many and didn't have more than a cup of peanuts to use. So this past Friday while walking home from class I bought a whole kilo of salted peanuts for 12 soles, just about $4. Again I was super excited so I went home and not only found a peanut butter recipe, but I also found a recipe for Maní Confitado which is a typical Peruvian snack sold on street corners which is like a candied/caramelized peanut. Below I have included the recipes for all three of these adventures: roasting peanuts, making maní confitado, and preparing peanut butter

Roasted Peanuts

When I prepared my roasted peanuts it was late at night and I didn't really want to mess with the oven so I made them in the microwave, and they turned out super delicious! For this recipe all you will need is:
  • 2 cups of shelled peanuts
  • A little bit of butter
  • 10x16 glass pan (or really any microwave safe dish)
First put all the peanuts in the pan and spread them out evenly. Next put about 2 teaspoons of butter on top and put them in the microwave for 2 minutes. Take them out of the microwave, stir them, and again microwave them for 2 minutes. You will continue this process until your peanuts have cooked for 10-12, depending on how roasted you want them. Then let them cool for 10 minutes before eating. If you have peanuts with skin on them that doesn't come off easily, like I did, then skip the butter at first and cook them for two rounds of 2 minutes and then the skin should be easy to remove. Go ahead and remove the skins by rubbing the peanuts through your hands or in a towel and then add the butter and finish the process. Be aware that the peanuts will be hot so they may need to sit before rubbing them through your hands. 

Raw peanuts with skin.
Skin peeled after 4 minutes, butter added.
Finished product after about 11 minutes.

Maní Confitado: Candied Peanuts

  • 2 cups raw peanuts
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp kosher or sea salt (if you are using salted peanuts than don't add salt)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (this is optional for added taste)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (this is optional for added taste) 
First off put the water and sugar into a saucepan on medium heat and stir continuously till the liquid turns into a syrupy consistency. Once you have reached the syrupy consistency add in the peanuts and continue to stir. After about ten minutes the peanuts should be well covered in sugar and there will be extra granulated sugar in the bottom of your pan. Continue stirring until the sugar again begins to turn into syrup and then your peanuts should begin to turn darker and darker. Once the peanuts have a deep golden brown color take them off the heat and spread them evenly into a large sheet pan with tinfoil while the peanuts cool. To help clean the pan you will want to immediately put water in the saucepan and put it back on the heat till it boils so the sugar can breakdown into the water and thus clean the hard and crusty sugar off the pan. 

Simple ingredients: water, sugar, peanuts 
Syrupy substance after sugar dissolved and water evaporated.
Granulated sugar turning back into syrup.
Finished product! 

Peanut Butter

  • 2 cups peanuts (salted or unsalted, if using unsalted add 1-2 teaspoons of salt) 
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or peanut but no olive oil)
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey to taste (sugar can be used as well)
For this recipe you will need a food processors or blender, however food processors are better for this because they are normally more powerful. I used a blender and it turned out delicious, but some are stronger than others. First off put your peanuts in the food processor/blender and mix until they are well ground. Next slowly add oil until desired consistency. You will most likely need to stir your peanut butter frequently at the beginning to help mix in the oil. Once you are getting to a desired consistency add the honey and that should help make it sweeter and make the peanut butter nice and smooth. Make sure to taste the peanut butter to see if you need to add more honey or possibly salt. For best use store in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.
2 cups of peanuts added into blender
Ready to add oil.
After adding oil, ready for honey.
Adding in honey.
Finished product!


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