[Photographs: Molly Sheridan]
Note: If you purchase your peanuts raw, toss them with a small amount of oil and bake on a sheet pan in a 350°F oven, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown.
A true advantage to making your own nut butters—beyond health and safety—is the opportunity for variation. Mix and match the nuts you use. You can also use other oils, or none at all. Some nuts, like macadamia, have an oil content high enough that you won’t even need to add any extra when turning them into butters.
Speaking of oils, in my experience, using a small amount of coconut oil and then transferring the finished product to the refrigerator immediately results in a butter that holds together without getting oily on top or dry on the bottom. I like its texture as well, because it spreads smoothly when totally cold, but isn’t runny on the knife. Though the oil is not completely neutral, I don’t find that it overwhelms the taste of the nuts.