For the past couple of years, nut butter has been the answer to most quick snacking situations in our home. Need a pick-me up? Dip some apple slices in peanut butter. Feel like having something a bit more substantial? Slab some hazelnut butter on a piece of rye and top with strawberry slices. Got a sweet tooth? Make vegan cookies using almond butter. Want dessert in 3 seconds? Fill a fresh pitted date with hazelnut butter. The combinations are endless and the result is always utterly satisfying. I guess the rich flavour and smooth and fatty creaminess balances many of the light and vegetable packed dishes in our kitchen pretty good. Our bodies need that fat and protein so we have made sure to always keep our pantry stocked up on at least one jar of nut butter.
Unfortunately, buying good quality organic brands is out of this world expensive. Also, after having tried some pretty cool mixed nut butters in Australia (Hello Macadamia, Cashew & Maple Butter!), the selection here in Sweden started to feel a bit limiting. Which brings me to today’s post. We have tried making our own nut butter a few times in the past years, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that we really got the hang of it. And since then, we haven’t been giving our food processor any rest. So after quite a few batches of homemade nut butter, we have learned some simple tricks that we wanted to share. Along with our favourite flavouring combination. Here we go!
First of all, you only need ONE ingredient to make nut butter. Nuts. All kinds work, either on their own or mixed. You probably want to add some salt as well, but resist the urge to add water, other oils or any other liquid. By sticking to one ingredient you will get the creamiest result. You can add oil but it really isn’t needed as the point is to get the nuts to release their own oil. Water or other liquids will react with the natural oil and turn the butter more into a sticky paste. If you are allergic to nuts, you can use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds/pepitas instead. Both have beautiful flavours. We usually mix nuts with seeds as a way to keep the bulk cost down, seeds are much cheaper than nuts in our part of the world.
The easiest and most delicious nut butter is achieved by roasting the nuts slightly. You will get a creamier result and a nice, toasted flavour. We find 10-15 minutes on 150°C/300°F to be perfect. You can roast them longer but the longer you roast them, the more the nuts will oxidise (meaning, less healthy). You can activate the nuts instead by soaking and dehydrating them (this is the healthiest option), but it will be more difficult to get them to release their oils and achieve that creamy result (adding a bit of oil usually helps in this case).
To succeed in making nut butter you need to have a decent food processor. You are going to mix the nuts for at least 10 minutes and the nuts will get pretty sticky after a while, so your food processor will get hot. If it starts to smell a bit burnt, switch it off and let it cool down for a while before continuing. If you know that your machine isn’t all that powerful, it helps roasting the nuts a bit extra and adding them warm to the machine. We use a Magimix 3200 and it works really well. Regardless of the brand, it is worth investing in quality kitchen tools if you plan to use them a lot. A few readers have told us that they use their Vitamix blender. We haven’t tried it but trust that it works. The reason we prefer a food processor is that it has a wider base which allows the whole batch to be mixed at once, not just the nuts at the bottom. The mixing time will vary depending on the machine, the type, amount and temperature of the nuts. It takes around 10-12 minutes before it’s completely smooth and creamy in our machine but it can take up to 20 minutes in others.
Our Standard Nut & Seed Butter
Makes 2 cups
4 cups of any nuts and/or seeds, either one sort or mixed (for example 1 cup / 135 g cashew nuts, 1 cup / 135 g almonds, 1 cup / 135 g brazil nuts, 1 cup / 135 g sunflower seeds)
2-3 large pinches sea salt
Cashew, Maple & Turmeric Butter
Makes 1 cup
This is amazingly tasting flavored nut butter is probably our favorite thing ever to put on top of a sandwich or as a sweet dip for crunchy vegetables.
1 cup standard nut butter (preferably using half cashew nuts, half sunflower seeds)
1-2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
Follow the instructions above for making the nut butter, or use store bought.
Add the rest of the ingredients towards the end of the mixing process, when the nut butter is completely smooth. Stir everything together by hand or give it a quick mix in the food processor. The spices and maple syrup will react with the nut butter making it slightly less creamy which is why you don’t want to stir it around too much. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.
Other uses for nut butter
Here are a few other ways you can use nut butter:
• Add a spoonful on top of your breakfast porridge or yogurt.
• Add a dollop in smoothies for extra richness.
• Use it in salad dressings (like in the No-Noodle Pad Thai in Green Kitchen Travels)
• As a filling in croissants or cinnamon buns.
• Use them in bars (we’ve got a beautiful new recipe that we plan to post in just a few days!)
PS! We have just released a new update of our Green Kitchen App. Not only have we included smart timers with full support for the Apple Watch, but we have also translated all the 124 recipes in the app to three new languages – Spanish, French and Italian. You can find the language switcher inside the settings menu of the app. This update is available without any extra cost.