Saturday, May 8, 2010
Butter me nutty
After seeing the creamy nut butters featured in the April-May issue of Flavours (a food magazine) I knew I had to make some for myself. Homemade nut butters? Oh my, I was as excited as those pre teen and tween girls at the Tokio Hotel concert just last week. And as I peered into the blender as the butter was being processed, I too was in tears as those screaming groupies of the German band.
I was a wreck. An emotional wreck.
I was particularly pleased because I didn't have a high-powered blender and used my reliable just-barely mid range Philips blender, praying all the while that the motor wouldn't give way. I love you, my Philips blender. Thank you.
I never realised how simple it is to make nut butters -- peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter... you name it. All you need is some fresh good quality nuts and a little bit of salt and a sturdy blender.
The catch is that the nuts (except for the modest peanut) can be pretty expensive and making a jar of these creamy beauties can cost you close to RM12. Oh, well. the satisfaction and the rich creamy spread you get is all the payoff you need.
What you need is 400g of your choice nuts. I used almonds. First, you roast them in the oven: it's up to you if you want it slightly roasted or if you prefer a dark roast. I chose a dark roast. Although you can opt not to use unroasted nuts, the roasting process helps release some of the flavour from the nuts, hence your nut butter will be richer. So, if you want just a light roast, heat up your oven to about 120C, spread the nuts on a flat tray and roast for about 10 mins. for a dark roast, leave it about 5 mins longer or till they brown.
Remove and let cool a little. Transfer into a blender and add a pinch of salt and blend. And blend. And blend. First, will be the grinding and you will see your nuts turn to coarse powder. Blend some more and you will start seeing the crumbs get creamier, and creamier until they resemble a thick buttery paste. A high-powered blender will, naturally, yield results faster. My basic Philips took a while longer (about 20 mins) with some one minute rests in between (I really was afraid the motor would go bust).
Most store-bought nut butters have some kind of hydrogenated vegetable oil, sugar and colouring to enhance the taste and texture. Home made nut butters are pure nut butters although you may add some like-flavoured liquers (like amaretto for the almond butter) to enhance the taste. I didn't have almaretto at home, dang-it, so mine was totally original.
So, it's goodbye peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (for a while) and ola to almond butter/jelly! Oh, and almond butter cream cookies. And almond butter slices, perhaps!