Though I was raised on creamy Jif, as an adult I much prefer the flavor and texture of all-natural peanut butter, made with only roasted peanuts and salt. So I was surprised by the recent Cook's Illustrated creamy peanut butter taste test, which gives as much — if not more — weight to perfectly smooth texture as it does to nutty taste.
Creamy Skippy! Although tasters commented on its "weak" nut flavor, its smooth and creamy texture secured it the top spot. Smooth and "roast-y" Jif Natural Peanut Butter Spread came in second. (If you're wondering about the complicated name, "natural" refers to the palm oil used in place of hydrogenated oils and "spread" means that the peanut butter is less than 90% peanuts and more than 55% fat.)
The only peanut butter in the test made of just peanuts and salt, Smucker's Natural, was deemed "gritty" and came in dead last. My go-to peanut butter, Trader Joe's salted, is certainly rougher in texture than Skippy, but it's also more peanutty and a lot less sweet. I guess Cook's Illustrated and I are just looking for different things in our PB&Js.
Is peanut butter texture just as important as taste to you? Are you a fan of all-natural or do you prefer Skippy-style spreads?