Nutella was only the beginning….I’ve made homemade peanut butter for some time now — I buy 30 pound bags of Valencia peanuts and our PB is cheaper and fresher and better than what we could find at the store. It is good, quick and easy, and while I’ve made foods that incorporated pulverized cashews, almonds, pecans, etc., I don’t remember making just plain nut butters out of these. So, today was the day.
First, I have to say that except for the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting through the house, the smell of browned nuts can’t be beat–something about that toasting and browning process that seems to bring the best out of so many foods! Today I made cashew butter and macadamia butter, both incredibly easy, both incredibly good. Tonight and tomorrow I’ll be trying pecans, almonds and brazil nuts.
From what I’ve observed so far, the process for all of these is about the same. Toast the nuts (2 to 3 cups at a time) at 350 degrees for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the nut–cashews, blanched almonds and macadamias brown more quickly than the others (I don’t blanch my almonds for this). If you have a trustworthy sense of smell, that can help here as well–when a nice nutty toasty smell comes from the oven, it’s time–the beginnings of a burnt smell do not bode well for the finished product.
Let the nuts cool for 15 to 20 minutes, place in a food processor with the chopper blade, and let ‘er rip. Depending on the speed of your processor, it will take anywhere from three to five minutes for the nuts to get to a smooth, spreadable state. If the mixture needs a little thinning, add a bit of nut oil or vegetable oil, processing until incorporated. Taste the butter, add salt and/or little sugar if you feel it could use some. Pour into a container and refrigerate if not using up in the first few days.
One note: We prefer crunchy peanut butter, so when I first get the peanuts going, I try to remember to stop and retrieve about a 1/2 cup of chopped nuts to be stirred into the final product.
Have fun playing around with the different kinds of nuts and butters–a quick and easy way to add some variety to those nut butter sandwiches! And not bad on a freshly toasted English Muffin…
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