One-ingredient Hazelnut Butter (just guess what it is)

Go read your peanut butter jar. Consider that all nuts naturally contain oils and therefore fats, and now think about where sugar factors into your jar's list of ingredients. We all desperately want peanut butter to be good for us, but the reality is that it just isn't a great option if you're going to be eating a lot of it (but everything is delicious in moderation..right?). Possibly your jar of natural nut butter contains only crushed nuts, and if so, good on you because that is an important move to make if you're going to avoid trans fats and things you can't pronounce. BUT, it's also probably you paid anywhere from 8 to 12 dollar for that butter, and we all know that the natural ones come in teeny jars (sad).

My proposition is this: buy nuts, blend, eat butter. The only necessary ingredient in any nut butter is the nut itself, because nuts are a generous gift from mother nature that we have mercilessly corrupted and mindlessly slathered on unsuspecting bread. Hazelnuts are an excellent butter nut because they are so naturally sweet, not to mention high in important vitamin Bs, however if you want to make your nut decisions based on things other that that (though other nuts are sweet too, macadamia and almond being big frontrunners in that category), or use the spread for savory sandwiches (not to say that hazelnut isn't a good option here either), check out this chart. Cashews are next on my list.

Delicious, but not photogenic
But today, I made my own hazelnut butter. Here's what you do: The short version is
1. roast nuts
2. grind nuts
3. eat nuts.

Here is my annotated version:

  • Preheat your over to 275. Nuts burn easily, so keep it low if you know your oven runs hot.
  • Lay your hazelnuts out on a baking sheet. You'll basically get half as much butter as you have nuts, so gauge accordingly. Natural butters have no preservatives and a short shelf life, so it's better to make a little at time, or freeze your excess if you make more than a cup of butter.
  • Roast your nuts for 15-25 minutes. I know this seems like a wide range, but you need to asses your own batch based on how they're doing (the range is determined from different numbers I've seen across the internet...I roasted mine for about 17 minutes). You'll know they're done when they are fragrant and the skins are cracking. A burned nut is a terrible (and disgusting) thing, so be careful.
  • Let cool for a few minutes, then, by rubbing handfuls of nuts between your hands in a dishtowel, remove the skins. (This is messy, but the skins get very bitter during roasting, particularly with other nuts. I kept a few skin-ny ones because I like the extra texture and it really didn't have a negative impact on the flavor at all)
  • Grind roasted nuts in a food processor or blender (I used my 4-cup Cuisinart and it was great...I've read that if you're using a blender you should toss in a tsp of oil, but I'm not sure why this is...water might work just as well...I had no problems though.)
  • Note: the less you try to process at one time, the easier the oils will come out to make a spread, so I ground it all once, to a crumbly spread, then ground it in half cups again, adding more when the first bit became oily, which happened fast.
Refrigerate. Well, eventually. I highly recommend you eat a bit right away, because your appliance will have warmed it up and...damn. It's so good. Please try to remember you are actually eating nuts. Your waistline and your digestive system will thank you for your mindfulness.

Cocoa is a great source of protein and zinc, but is high in saturated fats (but don't believe everything you hear...the verdict is still out on saturated fats, because so much depends on its composition)
For a chocolate-y variation, add to 1 cup of hazelnuts before blending:
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tbsp vanilla extract

5 tbsp of sweetener (the recipe I'm using asks for agave nectar, so use less if you're using sugar, and just adjust according to advice is to do this AFTER you've blended the cocoa and extract, and add in small quantities, as hazelnuts are delicious and their unique flavor really doesn't need to be steamrolled with sweetness)
Taste, and if you're not satisfied, add a pinch of salt.

This would probably be divine in almond butter too.

And voila! You are now a master butter maker! Eat it with confidence!


If you like this post, please share it!
Digg it StumbleUpon Google Yahoo! reddit

No Response to "One-ingredient Hazelnut Butter (just guess what it is)"

Post a Comment