How to Make Nut Butter: Peanuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts and More

Meher Mirza  |  Updated: February 06, 2017 16:36 IST

How to Make Nut Butter: Peanuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts and More
I'm a sickly type of person. I don't mean that I get violently ill with horrible, life-threatening diseases but if there is a bug to be caught, I will catch it. Tired of constantly popping pills to combat this stomach infection and that throat pain, I decided to try and cut out meat, dairy, refined sugar and anything processed. Well, as far as possible at least. But it was difficult to curb those food cravings. I had to find ways to combat the greed pangs that were consuming me (sorry for the puns).

I was lucky that I had a very fit and healthy Aussie friend who treks across the Amazon and parachutes off planes for fun. You know the kind. This friend sent me a bunch of healthy alternatives for many of the things that I was craving, and one of the easiest things to make was the nut butter.

How to Make Nut Butter

Now, making nut butter is the easiest thing. All you need are nuts of your choice and a food processor. That's it! Everything else is up to you. You can make nut butter from any kind of nut that you like and the method is exactly the same every time. Chop them, then pop the lot into the food processor, then switch it on. First, the nuts will turn into a brittle, powdery mass, but persevere and continue churning and slowly you will notice that the nuts will start releasing their natural oils. Soon, you will have a clumpy, buttery substance, which is your nut butter in its most unadorned form.
You may add a little coconut oil (cheaper but overpowering flavour of coconut) or almond oil (way more expensive) if you want a creamier consistency; you may also add a little sugar or salt but that is optional. I add neither because I usually use my nut butters as a base for other dishes; I'll talk about that in just a bit.
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How to Use Nut Butter

Peanut, almond, walnut, cashew, macadamia, hazelnut, and even coconut can be used to make butter. They all work the same way. You can eat them plain out of the jar or eat them with biscuits or fruits, pour them into your pre-workout smoothie or shake, add them in your morning porridge or on top of creamy dahi for an extra smidgen of protein, spread them on toast or try that all-American staple – peanut butter and jam.

You can even add them to salad dressings or flavour your daily cup of hot chocolate with them. You can gussy up a scoop of plain ole vanilla ice cream with a swirl of nut butter, or mix the butter into the ice cream and eat. So delicious, plus, you can have the added gloat of someone who is eating something delicious but also healthy since nut butters provide protein and are a form of healthy fats. Just don't go overboard, because they are bursting with calories.

Using Nut Butter as the Base

Nut butters are pretty delicious on their own but the most fun part is when you use them as a base and build upon them to create something unexpectedly delicious. Depending on the flavours you like, you can mix and match the nut butters for these recipes.

1. Almond Butter

My favourite thing to make with almond nut butter is a chocolate mousse. Yes, really! For this, I use almond butter, one big banana or two little ones, a handful of dates, an avocado and some unsweetened cocoa powder. Now all I have to do is blend it all until it reaches a nice, creamy consistency, tasting as you go. If you like, you can add a bit of maple syrup, but it is not necessary. I guarantee that you won't be able to taste the avocado at all and it tastes very close to a rich chocolate mousse. No cooking, no dairy, no eggs required and super healthy! You can scoop this into a tart base and bake them for a delicious treat.

2. Peanut Butter

Sometimes, when I can't be bothered to fiddle with sauces and pastes and what not to make a South East Asian meal, I quickly stir fry some chopped veggies and chicken with a daub of peanut butter and soy sauce. It's a quick fix for Asian-inspired tastes.

3. Walnut Butter

Another easy and delicious recipe is walnut balls. For this, I take walnuts and divide them into two batches. One for blending into butter and another for smashing up into little pieces. Chuck the pieces into the food processor and add in some oats until the mixture becomes sticky. Then pour in some nut oil (any kind you choose), dates and the walnut butter and blend until everything comes together in a sticky, squelchy mass. Roll the mass into little balls and refrigerate them for half an hour or so for healthy walnut snacks.


4. Hazelnut Butter

This was an expensive proposition for me because of the cost of hazelnuts, but I had sworn off processed food and I was missing my beloved Nutella. I needed a substitute. Again, so easy – all you need are hazelnuts, cocoa powder and maple syrup. I start off by toasting the nuts on the tawa for 10 to 15 minutes. Once they have cooled, pour them into the blender and blend until they reach a sticky, grainy consistency. Next, add the cocoa and the maple syrup and blend again until smooth. If you think the mixture is too thick, add a little water to thin it. You're done!

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And if you don’t feel like making nut butter at home, there's a large variety available online here.

About the Author: Meher Mirza is an independent writer and editor, with a focus on food and travel. Formerly with BBC Good Food India, she loves anime, animals and artsy things but also comics, technology and death metal.

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