Nut Butter

I first discovered there was more to life than regular peanut butter last year at the Ekka (Brisbane's Royal Show). This was Steve's (my partner) first trip to the Ekka so of course Steve indulged in dagwood dogs (a battered sausage on a stick covered in tomato sauce), I made him watch horses, we drank some wine and patted small furry animals.

Whilst in the wine pavilion tasting all of the regional goodness, we stumbled along the Macro wholefoods stand. Because it was the last day of the show they were basically giving away raw nibble mix and different types of nut butters - almond, almond cashew & brazil nut etc. We were immediately excited by the prospect of other types of nut butter and have never bought peanut butter since.

What I didn't realise at this time was how easy it actually was to make nut butter and have seen it pop up on lots of the blogs I follow lately. You literally just roast or soak the nuts (for raw nut butter) and then blend. Obviously you can make your nut butter as fancy as you would like by adding things like extra virgin coconut oil for a silky texture, cashews, almonds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, hemp seeds, maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, cinnamon, cocoa... yummmmmm.

I usually like to enjoy my nut butter with organic brown rice crackers for a quick snack at work along side my mid morning green tea, on rye toast for a really quick breakfast or as a dip for carrots and celery. I have also taken to trialling out a few 'bliss balls' for myself and the boys (aka my brother and partner) to have as a pre-workout snack, and am also going have a go at making some healthy nut butter biscuits which is both super exciting and scary at the same time because my baking skills are not the best!

Some quick nutritional facts - peanuts are not quite as good for you as say almonds. Both nuts contain similar nutritional benefits such as monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, protein and manganese. However peanuts are linked to allergies and may contain added sugars and oils. There is also some concern that peanuts contain levels of aflatoxin, a toxin that has been linked to cancer.

What you need to make 1-1.5 cups of nut butter
  • 2 cups made up of any type of shelled/raw nuts and seeds - cashews, almonds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp of sweeter if desired - agave nectar, honey, honey, cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla essence, salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin coconut oil (optional)
How to make it
  • preheat the oven to 150°C (fan forced, 170°C conventional). Scatter the nuts across some baking paper on an oven tray. Roast for approximately 10 minutes or until the nuts are a caramel colour on the inside. if you have smaller nuts/seeds add them in towards the end. Keep an eye on the nuts after 8 minutes, they burn quickly. Once the nuts are ready take them out of the oven and let them cool (this should take around 5 minutes).
  • once the nuts have cooled completely put all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and whizz until it forms a powder and then a paste (should take around 10 minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl every once in a while. You can tell it is ready when the oil starts to separate from the nuts.
  • spoon out into a sterilised jar*.
Not quite yet nut butter...

Looking more like nut butter!

Keep it in the fridge for at least 1 month. Keeping it in the fridge will stop it from going off and stop the oil from separating from the ground nuts.

Tip - If you want chunky nut butter, remove 1/4  cup of the chopped nuts from the food processor before it turns into a powder. Set aside. Fold it to the creamy nut butter before storing.

Make it naughty: by eating too much of it!!

*The easiest way I have found to sterilise a jar is to clean it out thoroughly and boil it a saucepan of water for 5 minutes.

Sources of info re the nuts:1, 2, 3