Homemade Coconut Vanilla Spiced Peanut Butter (refined sugar free!)

coconutpb.JPGThis year has been speeding by; it’s hard to believe it’s been so long since my last post! My health has definitely improved, but the journey has been full of challenges and seems to move in looping cycles that can shift between forward and backward momentum. I also feel it’s been a time of infinite opportunity to learn, grow, reflect, and change.

One interesting shift has been the need to alter my diet again. Now, I am not only vegetarian and gluten-free, but also refined sugar free. I know there are a lot of folks out there who have already made these changes, but it’s been eye-opening to realize how much sugar was overtly or covertly woven into my diet. And a wonderful challenge to learn how to make my own staples or must-haves in a way that will work for my system.

One of the first must-haves I tackled: Peanut Butter. I don’t think I realized how much peanut butter I was eating until I wasn’t able to eat it anymore. I started reading the labels and saw that nearly all of them have some form of refined sugar… and thus had to go peanut-butterless unless I could run out to Whole Foods to grind my own (a wee bit on the expensive and impractical side) or hunt down a version with no sugar and no palm oil.

Thankfully, one of my Christmas gifts provided the perfect solution! I could make my own from scratch. And not only that… it could also be fancy and full of anti-inflammatory goodness AND super easy.

DIY_VeganThis recipe is adapted from DIY Vegan: More than 100 Easy Recipes to Create an Awesome Plant-Based Pantry by Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman. (Super amazing and highly recommended!!) The notion of coconut peanut better was too off-the-hook not to try it; and once I did, I felt it necessary to push it over the top with a few more choice add-ins.

Hope you like it!

*     *    *

This recipe is adapted from DIY Vegan with lots of yummy add-ins. Feel free to adjust the amounts of any given element in this recipe to suit your taste. You can omit the coconut entirely. You can add a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder for chocolaty goodness. You can play with additions like lavender, cardamom, garam masala, or any manner of spices. Go wild! It’s pretty hard to mess up peanut butter. 😉

1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 cup roasted peanuts (I like lightly salted)
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
dash nutmeg

  • Start by adding your coconut to a food processor and blend on high speed until smooth. This will take a while; anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depending on your machine. Don’t panic. It will slowly become more butter-like in consistency. (It helps to scrape the sides periodically.)
  • Once your coconut is very smooth and creamy, add in the peanuts and blend again until your mixture is creamy once more. (Scrape down the sides as needed.)
  • Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and spices (or whatever else you’re choosing to use) and blend or pulse for 1 minute or so to get the flavors well-combined.
  • This stuff is best when eaten immediately (seriously, treat yourself to some right away!), but will also store for up to 4 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container or jar. The texture will change once in the fridge, but the taste remains incredible.

Let me know if you come up with any other amazing flavor combos or interesting ingredients!

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