We’re nuts for nut butter! This is everything you need to know to make your own delicious nut butter blends in the comfort of your home.
Nut butters have seen a huge spike in popularity over the last few years, especially with the movement towards protein and plant-based foods. What if we told you that you can make nut butter at home that is tastier and cheaper than store-bought? It’s so simple to make that you don’t even need a recipe. So, what are you waiting for? Whip out your food processor and let’s get blending!
STEP 1: ROAST
First things first, you need to pick your players. Almonds and peanuts are popular choices, but you can also use a combination of different nuts (and even seeds) to get a more complex flavour profile in your spreads. Cashews, for example, are mild in flavour and are a great way to add sweeter and creamier notes to nut butter blends.
The key to a full-flavoured nut butter is to roast your nuts. Although you can buy pre-roasted nuts from stores, it’s better to do it yourself at home in a 180ºC oven for about 10 minutes or until they smell toasty. Bonus: warm nuts break down better when blended so you’ll get a smoother spread. Don’t use salted nuts as these can be overwhelmingly when concentrated in nut butter. And make sure to remove the bitter, papery skins from hazelnuts and walnuts once roasted by rubbing them in a tea towel while still warm.
STEP 2: GRIND
While still warm, chuck all your roasted nuts in a food processor and blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the spread is as chunky or smooth as you wish. It may look like the nuts will go no further than a dry crumbly mess, but be patient. As the nuts are processed, they start to release their natural oils which emulsify to create a creamy texture; this can take anywhere between 5–15 minutes. To nudge the mixture in the right direction, add in a little vegetable oil as you grind it up, or go rogue and add a non-neutral oil such as peanut oil.
STEP 3: ADD A PINCH
Now for the exciting part! Get creative with your flavour combos to make delicious spreads like maple-cinnamon almond, salted dark chocolate macadamia, spicy cashew and pumpkin spice pecan. Step one to flavour city is, and no surprises here, salt! Then start experimenting with vanilla, cocoa powder, melted chocolate and spices (think cinnamon, cardamom and cayenne). Although sweeteners like honey and maple syrup can be added, be careful as they can seize the mixture; try adding some more oil if this happens to loosen the mixture. For those of you who like living on the edge, whip out wildcards like miso, citrus zest or even sriracha. Go steady though, it’s easy to get carried away!
STEP 4: BOTTLE IT UP
Store your nut butter in clean glass jars in the fridge to prevent rancidity and the oil separation that occurs at room temperature. If splitting does occur, just mix it all back together with a spoon. Although you’ll probably polish it all off in no time, homemade nut butter will keep for 1 to 3 months.
IDEAS TO USE YOUR NUT BUTTER
- Make Proats: Stir nut butter into your morning oats to make protein oats (aka proats). You can also make protein-packed energy balls and snack bars, or super-charged nut-butter smoothies.
- Get Saucy: Nut butters make delicious toppings, sauces, dips and dressings. Try it in meals such as stir fries, Asian-inspired noodles and satay chicken. Cashew butter is great for salad dressings or creamy, saucy dishes like butter chicken. On the sweeter side, drench waffle stacks and pancakes in cinnamon almond butter or your own DIY Nutella. (PS: We have a nifty recipe for homemade hazelnut spread here)
- Snack Attack: Smear some nut butter on toast or rice crackers with sliced fruit, honey and mixed seeds or enjoy as a dip with sliced apples.
- Sweet Treats: Use your favourite nut butter to make your own peanut butter cups, or sandwich between banana slices and dip in dark chocolate.
Words: Kirsty Buchanan; Feature image from Pexels
ALSO SEE: Paleo-style almond butter cups