Let me preface this post with this statement:
I am not a make-your-own-peanut butter type of gal.
Oh no. I buy my all-natural peanut butter in bulk from Costco and don’t mess with the hubub that comes with making your own:
- finding an affordable place for nuts
- buying the nuts
- soaking the nuts
- dehydrating the nuts
And then you can decide whether or not to roast and season the nuts.
Sheesh. We’re up to six steps and we haven’t even made the nut butter yet!
That is why I choose not to make my own. I don’t really find it helpful to spend 3-4 days preparing the nuts for nut butter when I need to make sandwiches NOW.
So the fact that you’re seeing a recipe for homemade nut butter is a rarity. You can thank the crumbs at the bottom of of my container of cashews for today’s post.
In the midst of re-arranging and organizing my pantry (a.k.a. digging through way to many containers to find the tiny little jar that got pushed all the way to the back), I noticed that the tub of cashews was nearly empty. Well, nearly empty of whole cashews that is. There were plenty of smaller, broken pieces.
In an effort to waste less food, I tried to come up with a purpose for these random, crumb-like pieces of nuts. Certainly I didn’t want to throw them out – not at $6 per pound! But there was no Asian dish with a peanut sauce on the menu, nor were were making granola bars that week.
That’s when the idea of homemade nut butter popped into my head. Big nuts get smashed and creamed up anyway, so why not throw in the smaller pieces too? We’d not waste them, save the larger pieces for snacking or recipes that need them AND have a fresh batch of delicious nut butter to smear on our sandwiches.
Sounded like a win-win-win to me!
- 2 cups nuts
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- salt (optional, to taste)
- Using a large food processor or a blender*, grind nuts into a fine powder, approximately 2-10 minutes.
- Add the melted coconut oil and continue processing, scraping down the sides as needed, until the nuts have released their natural oils and the butter is smooth and creamy, approximately 5-10 minutes.
- Add optional salt and any other additional flavors once the nut butter is finished, and process for 1 minute to incorporate well.
*2 cups of nuts makes approximately 1½ cups of nut butter. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Type of Nuts
When it comes to making nut butter, you can pretty much use whatever nut you want, in whatever size you want.
If you have money to burn and have a craving for roasted pine nut butter, then by all means, go for it! For those with more meager budgets, I encourage you to use the nuts you already have on hand and buy regularly, or the small pieces left behind after the husband demolishes a few containers of whole cashews.
If you stray from the typical cashew/almond/peanut butter route, check this post at Cooking Light. It has some great information on why certain nuts produce certain types of butters, and how to counter any issues that may arise.
Homemade nut butter doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, one of the first flavor combinations I tried was honey cinnamon cashew butter and OH.MY.GOODNESS it was AMAZING! I may or may not have eaten the entire batch with a spoon. (Mr. Crumbs reads this blog, so I cannot divulge such information without incriminating myself. 😉 )
Remember that you don’t need one single nut to make nut butter either. Combination butters like cashew-almond, almond-pecan or peanut-macadamia would all be excellent. Just use whatever you have!
Sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, molasses or brown sugar can add a dessert flare to ordinary nut butter and practically eliminate the need (or desire) for jelly. Or consider adding another puree like coconut butter for a rich, coconut-y flavor.
Think of spices like vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. When fall rolls around, maybe add a tablespoon of pumpkin puree along with traditional fall spices. Maple pumpkin almond butter anyone?
Put a twist on traditional nut butter with chocolate. Cocoa powder, semi-sweet chips, milk chocolate and dark chocolate would all be divine with any nut in my opinion. What about almond butter with a bit of milk and dark chocolate and coconut butter mixed in? It would be almond joy on a spoon!
While rabbit trailing on Pinterest, I found a reader who take leftover nuts from Christmas, adds 1 tablespoon of sweetener, a dash of salt and adds curry, cayenne or paprika. She then spreads it on figs, dates or crackers with pepper jelly. Talk about a genius way to re-purpose random holiday leftovers!
The cost of nuts will greatly influence the cost of homemade nut butter, but here are the basic conversions you need:
1lb almonds = 3 1/2 cups
1lb cashews = 4 cups
1lb peanuts = 3 cups
Using almonds as an example, Costco carries a 3 lb tub of almonds for $15.50 (get the full Costco price list HERE). Each cup costs $1.48 and the above recipe will make 12 ounces of cashew butter for $2.96.
Let’s compare against the Maranatha almond butter at Costco that sells for $9.98 for 26oz.
Homemade = 25¢ per ounce
Store-bought = 38¢ per ounce
Homemade almond butter wins!
Now, this won’t always be the case. I did the same math on peanuts not too long ago and homemade peanut butter cost 28¢ per ounce where store-bought cost 14¢ per ounce, making store-bought peanut butter the winner.
My point: Do the math before committing to making your own nut butter indefinitely. However, if you’re just looking for a way to use up those random leftover pieces of nuts and are in the mood for a little something’ somethin’ that’s a cross between honey and coconut and chocolate and peanut butter, well then by all means, make some nut butter!!
Do you make your own nut butter? If so, what’s your favorite flavor? If not, what do you do with all those little pieces of nuts?!
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