Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven, so why not try making your own chocolate peanut butter?

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By Deanna Godman

In the late ‘90s, my favorite national-brand peanut butter came out with a silky-smooth chocolate version. I kept a box of crackers and a jar of the chocolate peanut butter on my desk at work for the late afternoon blahs. It was truly wonderful. They did make other flavors, but I never bothered with them. There was no point when there was chocolate peanut butter in the world.
Eventually, it was taken off the market and I moved on. I tried not to think about it too much, but from time to time I thought of it and wished there was a way to have it again.
Recently, the company did bring the chocolate peanut butter back, but only in small, snack-sized to-go portions. It has a lot of packaging and the price to go with it. I did try it again, but decided that I needed another way to get my fix.
That is when I remembered that I have the ability to make my own nut butters at home. I made almond butter and mixed nut butter (walnut, pecan and peanut) in my food processor a few years ago. For some reason it just did not occur to me that I could make chocolate nut butters.
When the idea came to me, I had to make it right away. I looked up recipes online, and then adapted what I saw to make my own. My husband keeps roasted peanuts in the house for snacking, so I used those instead of looking for raw peanuts to roast. I did roast them for five minutes to give a fresh-roasted flavor.
I checked the ingredient list of my favorite national brand peanut butter, and saw that it includes molasses, which none of the recipes I found did. So I added a little bit of molasses.
I am not a huge fan of dark chocolate so I did not have any at home. What I did have was a Hershey bar, so I broke some of it off and added it to my recipe. I also had semisweet chocolate chips, which I also could have used. I added more Hershey cocoa than the other recipes called for just to increase the chocolate flavor.
As for sweetener, the recipes varied, using powdered sugar, honey, brown sugar or cane sugar. I decided on regular granulated but my peanut butter came out a little bit grainy. The heat from my food processor did not melt it the way I thought it would. Next time I make this, I will probably use powdered sugar just for smoother nut butter.
All of the ingredients are adjustable according to personal preference. Even the oil can be substituted or left out entirely. There are recipes that use canola oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, and even olive oil. I used what I had on hand, but the recipes that used specialty oils like walnut oil or hazelnut oil intrigue me.
The chocolate peanut butter I made was gone within a few days, and was accompanied by Honeycrisp apples.
Homemade peanut butter is so easy to make with the right equipment (a food processor or high-performance blender), and is endlessly customizable. It can also be much healthier than store bought because the ingredients are controlled and no preservatives are used.
The chocolate peanut butter can be kept on the counter for a week, or in the refrigerator for a month. The jar that I made lasted three days, though.

Chocolate Peanut Butter

2 cups peanuts
¼ Hershey bar, chopped
½ cup Hershey cocoa
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon canola oil, if needed

Roast the peanuts at 375 degrees for several minutes. If the peanuts are already roasted, just roast for five minutes to bring out the flavor. If they are raw, roast them for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Place the peanuts in a food processor or high-performance blender, and grind for several minutes. At first, the peanuts will appear as a powder and then a paste. Eventually, they will begin to liquify.  Scrape down the sides.
At this point, it is time to add the other ingredients. The Hershey bar can be melted before adding it, but the heat generated by grinding the peanuts will probably be enough to melt it. If dark chocolate is used, it should be melted before adding to the mixture as it has a higher melting point.
Start the food processor off slowly to incorporate the sugar and cocoa. Then bring the motor up to full power and process until all ingredients are incorporated.
The mixture will be liquid and warm. It can be refrigerated until solid and then left on the counter if used within a few days. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a month.
Makes approximately two cups.