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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Nut Butters

With only a few Why Bother? challenges remaining, I think I have found my favorite.  Nut Butters!  I don't know why I put this challenge so far into the year.  It may have had something to do with a lack of fresh produce?  I have no idea.  Perhaps I thought I could use said nut butters in the upcoming holiday cookies?  If not, that is exactly what I plan to do with some of these but butters.

When it comes down to it, store bought peanut butter isn't that expensive, isn't seasonal and has a classic flavor that is difficult to reproduce.  There was no way that I would be trying to replicate a jar of JIF or Skippy.  First of all, I don't have the right equipment in my kitchen to make a creamy peanut butter that smooth.  Would I really want to anyways?  Those creamy peanut butters are packed full of sugar and salt.  What I wanted to try and copy was a store bought jar of natural peanut butter.

If you compare servings of JIF and a natural peanut butter, you'll be looking at two things with roughly the same number of calories.  Natural peanut butter has a much more pronounceable ingredient list.  Usually these jars contain just peanuts, salt and maybe a little oil.  An ingredient list like that makes for something that can easily be made at home.

One thing, I didn't want to make plain old simple peanut butter.  I wanted fancy peanut butter and that's just what I made.  I present to you, White chocolate peanut butter.  I've been enjoying this spread on top of waffles for breakfast and by the spoonful at any time of the day.

I didn't stop with peanut butter though.  My favorite nut is the walnut.  I'm my fathers child when it comes to the fact.  He requests each and every cookie that my mom makes, contain walnuts.  I'll toss walnuts in my cookies, quick breads, pasta sauces and salads.  My love of walnuts drove me to take a pound of walnuts and feed them to the food processor.  The outcome was simply amazing.  Spiked with a bit of cinnamon, the cinnamon walnut butter I created tastes just like the holidays.  This stuff is destined for a batch of cookies, I can't wait.

What is your favorite nut?  Have you thought of whipping up a batch of your favorite nut butter?  Almonds, pecans, cashews.  These would all make amazing spreads, have a go at it with your food processor!

One Year Ago: White Bean Tomato Soup
Two Years Ago: Sage Oven Fries

White Chocolate Peanut Butter
A Wilde Original

I added a little but of agave syrup to my nut butters.  Some people suggested using honey or maple syrup, but I wanted something that wouldn't take away from the other flavors in the spreads.  Feel free to use your favorite liquid sugar in place of agave syrup!

1 pound dry roasted peanuts
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp agave syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil plus 1 tbsp
1 cup white chocolate chips

In the bowl of your food processor, combine peanuts, salt and agave syrup.  Process for 20 seconds, until the peanuts turn into a paste.  Slowly add oil through the chute in the lid. 

Melt white chocolate chips on half power in the microwave (or in the top of a double boiler).  Add melted white chocolate to the food processor.  Process until everything is combined and smooth.  Check consistency, if the peanut butter seems a little dry still, add the extra tablespoon of oil.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

Cinnamon Walnut Butter
A Wilde Original

1 pound raw walnuts
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp agave syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil plus 1 tbsp

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place walnuts on a baking sheet.  Toast walnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Combine walnuts, cinnamon, salt and agave syrup in the bowl of your food processor.  Process for 20 seconds, until you have a paste.  Stream in 1/4 cup vegetable oil through the chute in the lid.  If the walnut butter looks a little dry still, add the final tablespoon of oil.

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