Who doesn’t love a good nut butter?! Except those poor people that are allergic to nuts (the horror!); if this is you then substitute the almonds for sunflower seeds to make an almighty seed butter, totally delicious also.
You can buy so many varieties of nut butter these days, made different according to the nuts used, the amount they’re blended, the flavourings added. Why not get creative and make your absolute dream nut butter to drizzle all over your life..?
This does take time but all that effort and love you put in you absolutely get back. Allow yourself to enjoy this whole process. What a beautiful gift this could be at Christmas – giving your own time is surely one of the most precious gifts.
First things first, you need a very powerful food processor to do this. I’ve learned the hard way – I’m now in fact two blenders down in the quest for delicious homemade butters. The reason for this is that the blender needs to be running for at least 15 minutes and if the blender isn’t so powerful it will get very overheated. Just be careful and maybe switch it off every 5 minutes, allowing for a cool down period if need be.
Now, let’s get buttery…
Step 1: Activate
I like to soak my almonds overnight in filtered water so that in the morning I can rinse off the phytic acid, making them easier to digest. The almonds grow by ingesting the water surrounding it making them more plump and soft, yet with a fresh crunch – this makes them more pleasant to chew on so you may well like to set aside some activated almonds to add to salads and rice bowls etc.
Step 2: Toast
After draining and rinsing the nuts, place them on a lined baking tray(s) into the oven on 180 degrees and give them a good shuffle at least every 10 minutes, until you can smell the nuttiness and see that they’ve taken on a darker colour, before turning black. If you’re short on time, you can miss this step but I think it’s important to really bring out the delicious depth of flavour.
Step 3: Make it Unique
What flavours do you love? – Aromatic spices? Creamy coconut? Rich chocolate? Really take the opportunity to make this butter your own by adding what gets your mouth watering. If you want to follow my festive spiced almond butter, here’s what you’ll need: cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, nutmeg, sea salt. I like to activate my spices by lightly toasting them in a frying pan before adding to the nuts. The quantities will vary according to your own taste and the quantity of almonds you’ve used. Have a play and taste along the way!
Step 4: Blend
It can seem like this will never work but you just need to trust… says the woman who’s broken two blenders, but really, even it you’ve got a really strong blender, it looks, at first, like you’ll never create a butter and that all of the nuts are stuck but you just need to wait for them to release their oils. You can add a good quality oil to the mixture to help this first stage. Here in Morocco, I use argan oil fresh from the mountains – my neighbours collects the stones from the trees, crack them, then grill, ground and press until they create the oil by hand. In other areas you may like to add melted coconut oil. Again, you choose your oil and choose your quantity; add little by little.
Enjoy your healthy, homemade nut butter in any way you wish. I like to add it to porridge, smoothies, brownies, dressings and of course straight off the spoon… let’s be honest, straight off my fingers getting every last bit off that food processor!