Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday's Twist: Nut Butter

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try.

Making your own nut butter is ridiculously simple.  It's also healthier, cheaper, tastier and more versatile.  I don't even want to think about the impact this will have on my already crazy peanut butter addiction.

I got a little carried away with picture taking, so this is more of a picture post with step by step photos.  Even if a picture is worth a thousand words, these can't begin to describe my relationship with peanut butter.  

All you really need is one ingredient, nuts.  Many commercial nut butters have added sweeteners and hydrogenated oils.  Even some of the jars labeled "natural" contain added sugar and palm oil.  Making your own nut butter is not only healthier, it tastes better.  Cutting out all the other ingredients allows the true flavor of the nut to shine through. Using roasted nuts adds an even deeper flavor.

Try peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, soynuts or almost any combination your taste buds crave.  Try it plain first, then add salt or sweetener if desired. You can also play with different flavorings and add-ins such as vanilla, cocoa powder, maple extract, honey, chocolate chips, crushed coffee beans, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, basil, curry, garlic or hot sauce.  Make it as sweet, salty or savory as your imagination allows.

If you can avoid eating the whole jar straight from the spoon, try using your nut butter on a grilled sandwich, quesadilla or pizza.  Drizzle it over a banana, spread it on graham crackers or toast and stir it into your oatmeal.  I'm not even going to start on the dessert applications, I might not stop.

Below are the stages of your new friend.  It takes just a little patience, but it's more than worth it.  As you continue to process, the nuts break down and release their oils.  The friction of the blades heats up the nuts resulting in warm, drippy, delicious goodness.  

If you prefer crunchy peanut butter, now would be the perfect time to remove a few tablespoons of chopped nuts to stir in at the end.

It's tempting to stop here, but keep going.

Like I said, ridiculously simple.  If you can turn on a food processor, you can make your own nut butter.  Try it out for yourself and let me know what crazy combinations you come up with!

Last summer I experimented with a few recipes using soynut butter.  At first I wasn't too sure about it, but it didn't take long before I was hooked. Don't even get me started on the chocolate soynut butter.  The nut butter in these pictures is a peanut-soynut butter.  Soynuts are lower in fat and higher in protein than most nuts.  However, they don't contain enough oil to form a nut butter of their own.  Instead of adding oil, I used half peanuts and half soynuts.  The peanut flavor overpowered the soy and it turned out tasting just like peanut butter....as if I needed another excuse to eat it by the spoonful. 

Peanut-Soynut Butter

1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
1 cup roasted salted soynuts

Place peanuts and soynuts in food processor and process until smooth and runny, scraping down sides as needed.  Be patient, this can take up to 10 minutes.

*For crunchy nut butter, stir in chopped nuts after processing.
*For firmer nut butter, store in the refrigerator.

Food for Thought: "If you find honey, eat just enough- too much of it, and you will vomit." -Proverbs 25:16

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