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    nut butters

    30 NUT BUTTER RECIPES AND CREATIVE WAYS TO USE THEM

    Mary Loudermilk

    STERLING and the distinctive Sterling logo are registered trademarks of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

    Text © 2015 by Mary Loudermilk

    All photos © 2015 by Mary Loudermilk, except the following: v, 9: © Charlotte Lowrie/ImageBrief.com; vi: © Nichon Glerum/ImageBrief.com; xii: © Melpomenem/iStock

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (including electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without prior written permission from the publisher.

    ISBN 978-1-4549-1635-2

    For information about custom editions, special sales, and premium and corporate purchases, please contact Sterling Special Sales at 800-805-5489 or [email protected]

    Cover Design by Elizabeth Mihaltse

    Cover Photo © Charlotte Lowrie/ImageBrief.com

    www.sterlingpublishing.com

    contents

    introduction

    nuts: health information and comparison

    nut butter essentials

    tips and tricks

    universal nut butter

    the butters

    almond

    chocolate almond butter

    vanilla almond butter

    chipotle honey almond butter

    dark chocolate cherry almond butter

    cashew

    chai cashew butter

    birthday cake batter cashew butter

    rosemary cashew butter

    sweet ginger cashew butter

    coconut

    cherry coconut butter

    pecan

    chocolate pecan butter

    pine nut

    citrus pine nut butter

    sunflower seed

    gingerbread cookie dough sunflower seed butter

    hazelnut

    chocolate bourbon hazelnut butter

    cinnamon vanilla hazelnut butter

    salted caramel hazelnut butter

    pistachio

    bacon pistachio butter

    white chocolate pistachio butter

    walnut

    mocha walnut butter

    brown sugar walnut butter

    peanut

    spicy ginger peanut butter

    curried peanut butter

    oatmeal cookie peanut butter

    macadamia

    mint chocolate macadamia butter

    chocolate coconut macadamia butter

    spicy macadamia butter

    the recipes

    chocolate almond butter slab pie

    green monster vanilla almond butter smoothie

    chipotle honey almond butter pasta

    dark chocolate cherry almond butter cookies

    chai cashew butter pancakes

    birthday cake batter cashew butter truffles

    rosemary cashew butter chicken

    sweet ginger cashew butter salad dressing

    baked cherry coconut butter shrimp

    chocolate pecan butter no-bake chewy granola bars

    citrus pine nut butter shortbread cookies

    gingerbread sunflower seed butter puppy chow

    chocolate bourbon hazelnut butter milkshake

    cinnamon vanilla hazelnut butter chocolate sauce

    salted caramel hazelnut butter scones

    bacon pistachio butter frosting

    white chocolate pistachio butter pudding

    mocha walnut butter baklava

    brown sugar walnut butter streusel muffins

    spicy ginger peanut butter soup

    curried peanut butter stir-fry

    oatmeal cookie peanut butter banana bread

    mint chocolate chip macadamia butter ice cream

    chocolate coconut macadamia butter crispies

    spicy macadamia butter hummus

    about the author

    introduction

    When I started making nut butters in my own kitchen, I was surprised at how easy it was. Not only that, I was surprised at how many other people were blown away by the idea! With the growing popularity of nuts and the health benefits they provide, I found it curious that no book (to my knowledge) existed specifically about nut butters. You can find a plethora of books based on peanut butter, and recipes using peanut butter, but not much information on butters made from other nuts. Sure, the concept is easy—grind up the nuts, add flavors and spices, and you’re done—however, I found most people I talked to still didn’t believe how easy it was. With that in mind, the concept for this book was created.

    Looking at many of the successful diets in recent years, the majority have a unifying element: nuts are allowed, or even encouraged. I find myself regularly reading new studies indicating health benefits, including weight loss, of a diet including nuts. We’ve been scared of high-calorie and high-fat foods for a long time—but science is refuting this idea with a renewed emphasis on healthy fats and oils. Finally, an endorsement to eat nuts!

    Many of the recipes in this book are simple. Many are just a nut plus chocolate, or a nut plus a spice such as chili powder or ginger. Some are little more creative and might leave you thinking, What would I ever do with this? Thus the second half of this book was born: a specific recipe in which to use each nut butter in this book. Most of these nut butters are delicious straight off of a spoon, but I find it much more interesting to incorporate the nut butters into my cooking.

    The great thing about most of the recipes in this book is that they are completely interchangeable. Maybe you don’t like macadamia nuts, or cashews (as I thought was my story before making Rosemary Cashew Butter). Sub in a different nut and see what happens. Maybe you like your nut butters sweeter—add a teaspoon of sugar! Maybe you like them extra salty—add more salt! The recipes are so easily customizable, the sky is the limit when it comes to making nut butters.

    As for the “real” recipes, you’ll find a lot of them are interchangeable as well. The Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Butter Crispies would be delicious with any of the sweeter nut butters, as would the Chocolate Bourbon Hazelnut Butter Milkshake, Chocolate Almond Butter Slab Pie, or Chocolate Pecan Butter No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars. Try the Spicy Macadamia Butter Hummus with Bacon Pistachio Butter, or the Bacon Pistachio Butter Frosting with Cherry Coconut Butter. Try any combination that sounds good to you, keeping an eye on fat content and adjusting recipes (especially baked goods) as needed.

    As I neared completion of this book, the ideas for more recipes kept flooding in. Granola, stuffed French toast, pudding, Popsicles, cinnamon rolls—should I keep going? The possibilities are endless, so let your imagination lead you to new flavors, combinations, and creations. Keep experimenting, and let me know what you find!

    nuts

    health information and comparison

    Despite having high fat and calorie content, nuts are increasingly being accepted as a healthy part of our diets. People who incorporate nuts into their diet feel full longer and end up losing more weight than those without nuts in their diet. Nuts are also credited with having high levels of healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins, and studies are finding that nuts may decrease the risk of heart disease.*

    almonds Being on the lower end of the fat and calorie scale, almonds are a great choice for a healthy way to incorporate nuts into your diet. Almonds have more calcium than any other nut and are a great source of fiber. They’re also high in vitamins E and B, helping to bolster your immune system.

    pecans Pecans are higher in fat content than most nuts, except for macadamia nuts. The USDA rated pecans as the number one tree nut for its high levels of antioxidants, not to mention more than nineteen vitamins and minerals.

    peanuts Peanuts have the fourth highest fat content, making them a wonderful nut to make into a butter. The good news is that peanuts are high in monounsaturated fat—the same fat responsible for the praise of the Mediterranean diet, emphasized for heart heath. Peanuts are also high in folate, a necessity for brain health, and especially important for vegetarians and pregnant women.

    macadamia nuts Macadamia nuts have the highest level of fat, resulting in a smooth, buttery taste. Like peanuts, macadamia nuts have high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids—a key for heart health. Macadamia nuts are actually on par with the levels of monounsaturated fat in the highest-quality olive oil.

    cashews Cashews, aside from having the heart-healthy benefits of other nuts, are high in iron, magnesium, and copper. Promoting healthy skin, hair, joints, and bones, these nuts are a great option right in the middle of the fat-content spectrum.

    pistachios As part of the cashew family, pistachios are also high in copper, magnesium, and B vitamins—all of which help boost your immune system! As with cashews, high levels of monounsaturated fat make this nut a heart-healthy option.

    walnuts In addition to heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, walnuts boast high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids protect against blood clots, heart disease, arthritis, and even depression.

    hazelnuts Hazelnuts, or filberts, are high in levels of vitamin E and selenium—key ingredients in anti-aging products. Vitamin E is especially good for red and white blood cell production.

    coconut With the lowest fat content of all the nuts listed here, coconut is a tasty lower-calorie option. Coconut is high in lauric acid, an anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial acid credited with immune-boosting qualities. Coconut is also thought to help with digestive issues.

    pine nuts A relatively fatty seed with slightly less fat than pecans, the pine nut is high in vitamins E and K. Pine nuts are one of the strongest sources for manganese, a key mineral for immune health. Pine nuts also have high levels of oleic acid, a healthy fat known to reduce cholesterol levels.

    sunflower seeds Sunflower seeds are high in selenium, folate, and vitamin E. Selenium is an antioxidant thought to have powerful anti-cancer and anti-aging benefits. Folate, especially important for pregnant or nursing mothers, is essential for red blood cell production and bone health. As with the other nuts on this list, sunflower seeds are full of healthy fats and many antioxidants.

    *“Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality,” New England Journal of Medicine. Massachusetts Medical Society: 2013. http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1307352

    nut butter essentials

    While making nut butters is a fairly easy task, there are certain tools to buy and tips to be aware of before you get started. As with any cooking project, the final product is highly dependent on the ingredients and methods used during the process. Most nut butters have relatively few ingredients, making it even more important to be diligent about quality. Having all of your components in place before making any nut butters is essential to creating a top-notch final product.

    quality ingredients Start with the best ingredients you can find: quality (ideally organic, fresh, and carefully harvested and handled) nuts and spices, high-caliber chocolate, and fresh ingredients.

    powerful tools I have found a powerful food processor to be the most effective machine for making nut butters. Others use high-powered blenders and have great results. Either way, make sure your machine has a tough motor (such as food from brands like Cuisinart, KitchenAid, VitaMix, BlendTech, etc.)—turning nuts into butter takes a lot of energy!

    salt Even in the sweet recipes, salt is a crucial ingredient. I use sea salt to make all of my butters. Personal preference will vary, so taste as you go. Sometimes a little extra salt can make all the difference in turning a good nut butter into a great nut butter.

    patience If you’ve never made a nut butter before, you might give up prematurely when you see a grainy blob in your food processor. Don’t worry! Just keep processing. You will end up with a smooth nut butter, but sometimes it can take up to 20 minutes (or longer, depending on the strength of your machine and your choice of nut).

    tips and tricks

    While each nut butter recipe allows room for personal interpretation (Do you want raw or roasted? More salt or less salt?), there are certain aspects to be aware of in working with nuts. Not all nuts will act the same. You will learn more as you experiment, but I’ve outlined some general rules to help you end up with a creamy, flavorful nut butter. There’s nothing worse than seeing your nut butter go from creamy and smooth to seized up in a dry ball—avoid that by following my tips and tricks, and always having patience.

    roasting I prefer all of my nut butters with roasted nuts. Others prefer theirs raw. Try both ways to determine what you like. To roast any nut, preheat your oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake for 5–10 minutes. Open the oven and smell: Can you smell a nutty flavor? They’re done. Don’t burn them! Almonds will take longer than the others, with pecans and walnuts being the fastest. If you go the route of roasting, throw the hot nuts into the food processor immediately—they’re easier to process when hot!

    process first, add later Some ingredients that you might add to the butters actually hamper the process, leaving you frustrated with a thick blob of nuts. Start each recipe by blending only the nuts, waiting until they have completely released their oils and turned into a smooth butter before adding anything else. If you really get into trouble, add some oil—peanut, coconut, walnut, or whatever you have on hand.

    recipe rescue Sometimes you’ll have a recipe that just won’t cooperate, no matter what you do. In this situation, I’ve found one thing to save it every time: chocolate chips. Depending on the recipe, add whatever kind of chocolate chips you think are appropriate. Usually this means semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate for me! Their creamy consistency will help smooth out the nut butter, giving it a spreadable consistency.

    storage Unless you’re going to finish eating the batch in a few days, store your nut butters in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Some will thicken up substantially upon cooling, so bring to room temperature if you need a spreadable consistency.

    universal nut butter

    yield 1¾ cups

    2 cups any nut

    ½ – 2 teaspoons salt, to taste

    1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    2 Spread the nuts in a single layer on an unlined baking sheet, and bake for 5–10 minutes. The softer the nut (pecan, walnut), the less time you’ll need. You should be able to smell a delicious nutty flavor when they’re done.

    3 Remove the nuts from the oven and immediately put them in your food processor with the salt.

    4 Process the nuts for 5–15 minutes, or until you have a true nut butter. It will be grainy at first, but keep scraping down the sides of your processor with a spatula, and you will get there.

    5 Add salt as needed for taste.

    the butters

    chocolate almond butter

    yield 2 cups

    2 cups almonds

    ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for taste

    1 Process the almonds in your food processor for 10–15 minutes, or until completely smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.

    2 Add the chocolate chips to the processor. The heat from the nuts and the motor will melt them perfectly.

    3 Add the salt and process for another 2 minutes.

    4 Add more salt as needed for taste.

    use this butter in the chocolate almond butter slab pie

    vanilla almond butter

    yield 1¾ cups

    2 cups almonds

    1 teaspoon ground vanilla beans

    ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for taste

    1 Process the nuts in your food processor for 10–15 minutes, or until completely smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.

    2 Add the ground vanilla beans and salt. Process for another 2 minutes.

    3 Add more salt as needed for taste.

    use this butter in the green monster vanilla almond butter smoothie

    chipotle honey almond butter

    yield 1¾ cups

    2 cups almonds

    1 teaspoon chipotle powder

    ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for taste

    3 tablespoons honey

    1 Process the nuts in your food processor for 10–15 minutes, or until completely smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.

    2 Add the chipotle powder and salt, and process for another minute.

    3 Remove from the food processor, and mix in honey by hand.

    4 Add more salt as needed for taste.

    use this butter in the chipotle honey almond butter pasta

    dark chocolate cherry almond butter

    yield 2 cups

    2 cups almonds

    ¼ cup dark chocolate chips

    ⅓ cup dry unsweetened cherries

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 Process the nuts in your food processor for 10–15 minutes, or until completely smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.

    2 Add the chocolate chips, dry cherries, and salt to the processor and process for another 4 minutes, or until completely smooth.

    3 Add salt as needed for taste.

    use this butter in the dark chocolate cherry almond butter cookies

    chai cashew butter

    yield 1¾ cups

    2 cups cashews

    ½ teaspoon cinnamon

    ½ teaspoon cardamom

    ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

    ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

    ⅛ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

    ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for taste

    1 Process the nuts in your food processor for 5–10 minutes, or until completely smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.

    2 Add all spices, and blend until smooth.

    3 Add more salt as needed for taste.

    use this butter in the chai cashew butter pancakes

    birthday cake batter cashew butter

    yield 2 cups

    2 cups cashews

    ¼ cup white chocolate chips

    2 tablespoons brown sugar

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    ½ teaspoon almond extract

    ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for taste

    3 tablespoons sprinkles

    1 Process the nuts in your food processor for 5–10 minutes, or until completely smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.

    2 Add the white chocolate chips, brown sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Blend for another 2 minutes.

    3 Add the sprinkles, and mix until incorporated.

    4 Add more salt as needed for taste.

    use this butter in the birthday cake batter cashew butter truffles

    rosemary cashew butter

    yield 1¾ cups

    2 cups cashews

    3 large sprigs fresh rosemary

    Salt, to taste

    1 Process the nuts in your food processor for 5–10 minutes, or until completely smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.

    2 Remove the rosemary leaves from the wooden stems, and add to the processor.

    3 Process for 2 minutes more, or until smooth.

    4 Add salt as needed for taste.

    use this butter in the rosemary cashew butter chicken

    sweet ginger cashew butter

    yield 1¾ cups

    2 cups cashews

    ⅓ cup candied ginger, chopped

    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for taste

    1 Process the nuts in your food processor for 5–10 minutes, or until completely smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.

    2 Add the candied ginger to the processor and process for another 2 minutes, or until smooth.

    3 Add the ground ginger and salt, and process for another minute.

    4 Add more salt as needed for taste.

    use this butter in the sweet ginger cashew butter salad dressing

    cherry coconut butter

    yield 2 cups

    2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

    ¼ cup dried unsweetened cherries

    1 teaspoon sugar, plus additional for taste (optional)

    ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for taste

    1 Process the coconut in your food processor for 10–15 minutes, or until completely smooth and liquid, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.

    2 Add the cherries and process for another 2 minutes.

    3 Add the sugar (if using) and salt. Blend to combine.

    4 Add more salt or sugar as needed for taste.

    use this butter in the baked cherry coconut butter shrimp

    chocolate pecan butter

    yield 1¾ cups

    2 cups pecans

    ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for taste

    1 Process the pecans in your food processor for 5–10 minutes, or until completely smooth, scraping down the sides w

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