A few years back the only nut butter on the supermarket shelf would have been the humble peanut butter, only available then in either smooth or crunchy. Obviously, we all know that famous brand Sunpat, some of us even remember the various adverts. For me, a peanut butter & banana sandwich has been my favourite for forty years (ouch) I love the stuff, I could happily put the spoon into the jar and dig in, in fact, I have done. Sunpat has got me through many a drama.
Nowadays we are inundated with so many kinds of nut butter on the shelves, just plain or crunchy is a thing of the past. Many other ingredients are added, such as vanilla or maple syrup.
I have been making homemade nut butter for around sixteen years, long before using different nuts were popular. I started making it one day after snacking on a bag of cashew nuts, wondering if I could turn them into nut butter. Well, I tried, and it worked, although my poor old food processor never really recovered. Ever since then it has become my favourite nut butter of them all. It has a creamier, thicker composition and makes a great alternative to the traditional peanut butter.
Nut butters contain a whack of healthy vitamins and minerals which is differs across the various nuts. Ranging from protein, magnesium, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. On the downside, nut butter has a very high calorific value so moderation or in my case willpower is always required.
It is so simple to make your own and in my view so worth it. You get a chance to experiment with different flavours and nut combinations. To me, a few things are needed to make your own nut butter and they are. I always have a few jars in my cupboard which i use i baking sweet food, plus for things like satay sauce.
I use a Kenwood food processor. Like mentioned below it is important that you do use a robust one, that does not have to mean expensive though.
- A robust food processor
If you have all those you are ready to go. I will take you through the process from start to finish.
Ingredient wise you choose the amount and nut you want to use, also if you want to go plain or add any flavourings. I always nowadays add sunflower seeds and ground flaxseeds to the nuts for their added nutritional value.
First step is to roast the nuts. This is where you can vary the flavour. The darker you roast them the more intense the flavour becomes, although too dark and they become bitter. Spread the nuts being used onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place into a pre heated oven 180C for around 12-15 minutes.
- 350 to 400g of your chosen nuts
- Your choice of spices such as pumpkin spice, cinnamon or maple syrup.
- Pinch of sea salt
Once finished, remove from the oven and allow to cool.Never be tempted to process them too warm as this just fills your food processor with condensation.
Pour cooled nuts into your machine and start off at the lower power, letting it go until finely ground. You will get a build up all around the wall of the processor during this, stop and scrape the mixture down a bit from the top.
Turn the mixer back on and keep going and it will turn into a very thick creamy mixture.
Now it just takes patience until it reaches the corrects consistency. The nuts gradually begin to release their oils.
It is not a quick process really. Once the oils are released then keep going for a few for minutes and you have your wonderful creamy homemade nut butter.