Challenge #8 Buttery nutness

Overall success: Good, could be crunchier
Level of difficulty: easy but another one which tested my (im)patience
The Jim score: 8/10

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I LOVE NUT BUTTER.

This was easy peasy. Not only do I love nutty flavours, I also love the amazing natural nutritional value of these handy little things. In fact this was so easy that I did it immediately but other personal endeavours have meant that I haven’t got round to writing this blog up until now. Terrible. And in other TERRIBLE news, after January had finished and the dryness that January had brought has also ended, The Jim and I went to the fridge eager (limes in hand, ice ready, gin a-callin’)to try out the IRRITATING tonic water only to find nasty mould clouding the tonic. After all that filtering it was a big disappointment. True to his support for anything food/drink interesting, Dave posted me more cinchona bark and citric acid, along with better filter papers to start the process again. And I shall. Then I shall tell you the results. But anyway back to nut-time.

Nut butters x three
Ingredients:
Peanuts
(Should have added salt)…

With this challenge, I started with the first, ‘standard’ or well-known nut for butter – the humble peanut. I used plain but already roasted peanuts. I spread them on a baking sheet, popped them in the oven (probably about 160 centigrade) and left them until they smelled all delicious and nutty. Then, out they came, a few minutes to cool before into the food processor in batches. I started blending and there was disbelief in Mama Jackel’s house that they were going to blend at all. Indeed it did seem like it would remain nut dust forever. But as I had read whilst researching, everyone encourages perseverance. So that’s what I did. I persevered, I pushed determined escapee nuts back into the blades for destruction and kept on blending. I also took a few of the less blended nut pieces out in order to make the end product crunchy. Well, believe me when I say it IS true, it WILL blend and you will be left with a lovely nut butter. Here’s the proof:

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The result was a peanut butter. Nothing terribly exciting or dramatic, but just peanuts – no added weird.

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Cashew, cayenne pepper and nigella seed butter
Ingredients:
Cashew nuts
Cayenne pepper (as much as your brevity allows)
Nigella seeds (teaspoon for the maybe 2/3 cups of nuts)
Nut oil
Pinch of salt

Almond, maple syrup and cinnamon
Ingredients:
Almonds
Generous glugs of maple syrup
Glug of ground nut oil
Pinch of salt
Teaspoon of cinnamon

This pair started in the same way – into the oven for a gentle roast for the nuts. Then (after I’d remembered) whip ’em out and into the food processor. Back in my own kitchen I have a small processor which helped with the pushing the nut dust down the sides i.e. there was less space for it to escape the blades. So we started the process again. Handful of nuts into blender. Blend. KEEP blending and then look at disbelief that they’re ever going to succumb to butteryness. I think that, because I had forgotten about the nuts in the oven, and also possibly because my patience was wearing thin, the nuts were drier than usual. To help them along their way I added a bit of ground nut oil. This did help – especially the almonds. I think it would probably had been better on the almond version to have gotten rid of the skins but quite frankly I couldn’t be bothered.

In both instances I added the flavours and additional nut oil after the first batch of nuts had finally admitted defeat and buttered themselves. Then it was a case of adding more nuts, swapping them out until I achieved the desired texture.

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All in all I would do this again. I really enjoyed the cashew nut butter and would likely make it hotter with chilli flakes. It would make an excellent base for a chicken satay. I also enjoyed the almond with maple syrup but I will try these nuts without their skins. Very nice butters, thankyouverymuch.

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2 Responses to Challenge #8 Buttery nutness

  1. dopiaza 8th March, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    I’m very pleased you finally got around to posting your results – I was getting impatient!

    I love the sound of both the cashew and the almond butters, I’m definitely going to try both of those. I agree that the almond skins should be removed – blanching them in hot water for about thirty seconds should make that a lot easier.

  2. Sue Wilkinson 25th March, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    This post just sent me to the pantry for a butter and spoon……

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