If you’re like me, you tend to know no other nut butter than the ubiquitous peanut butter. And as I was hoeing into some commercially made peanut butter the other day, I got to wondering what’s actually in it. Wanna know?
Well, in the well-known brand I had in the pantry, it contained peanuts (of course), soybean oil, corn maltodextrin, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil (cotton seed and rapeseed oil), salt and mono and diglycerides. If you think that list doesn’t seem so bad, you might want to Google each of these items individually for a bit of a reality check! And, while there are healthier peanut butter options available, you still need to be extra diligent about reading the list of ingredients for any hidden nasties.
So, I took a deep breath and tossed the peanut butter (yes, it was hard!), and started combing through the cookbooks to see about making a healthy substitute. And, what I discovered was a whole new world of nut butters, thanks to New Zealander Eleanor Ovich and her great book ‘My Petite Kitchen Cookbook‘. I suddenly realised just how conditioned I’d become to the idea of peanut butter being the only nut butter option, when there are in fact so many other delicious nut and seed alternatives to be had.
So, with an abundance of almonds in the cupboard, I set about making some nutritious almond butter. And, may I just say, nutritious certainly doesn’t mean bland and boring – this baby is perfectly flavoured with just the right ratio of sweetness to saltiness. Dig your spoon in and enjoy it as is, or use as an ingredient in cooking and baking recipes – think cookies, brownies, cheesecakes, curries, stir-fries, dips… the list goes on. In the meantime, check out how it’s been incorporated into this Healthy Nut Butter Chocolate recipe.
HONEY-ROASTED NUT BUTTER WITH SEA SALT
Makes about 2 cups (12 oz)
- 310g (11 oz/2 cups) raw organic nuts or seeds (I used blanched almonds)
- 2 tablespoons honey, or agave or pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, ghee, butter or olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- Combine the nuts, honey (I used pure maple syrup) and sea salt in a mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix well so that all the nuts are evenly coated. Spread the nuts out in one layer over the baking tray.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden and aromatic. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Put the nuts in a food processor and process for 1-2 minutes, until a crumb-like consistency is reached.
- Add the coconut oil, then process for a further 2-3 minutes, until the butter has the desired level of smoothness (you can adjust the texture by adding more coconut oil or nuts).
- Taste and add a little more salt if needed.
- Transfer to a sterilised glass jar and seal. The nut butter will keep in a cool dark place for 2-3 months.