Homemade nut butter has been a part of my life since before I could walk or talk. In the early 80s my mum was a bit of a wacky health food hippy and made pretty much everything from scratch starting with milk fresh from the goat outside for breakfast (yes, goat, you read correctly a flock of Angora goats no less), through to homemade tofu for dinner. She’d spend hours churning ice cream from fresh cream and honey to make snowman birthday cakes, the hot water cupboard was full of sprouts where other people kept linen, and there was often an old stocking in the kitchen draining whey from curds to make cottage cheese.
And did I appreciate all this hard work? Did I fuck! At school, while other kids had white bread sandwiches with cold spaghetti or luncheon and tomato sauce my mum would turn up at lunchtime to deliver freshly baked, dense dark brown sandwiches still warm from the oven and like an ungrateful little turd, I was mortified. Why the fuck couldn’t we just be NORMAL?! Except I didn’t say fuck because I was 4 or 5 or 7 and the worst word I probably knew then was bum or maybe shit.
Of course in hindsight I see she was clearly far ahead of her time and now I’m retrospectively grateful for her efforts and particularly for the understanding of what constitutes real food it’s given me as an adult. So, despite the fact that I yearned for nutrient free processed junk I clearly learned a lot from watching her. And one of those skills was how to make shit hot nut butter.
I clearly remember sitting on the bench while Mum poured freshly roasted peanuts into a bloody enormous metal meat grinder she’d acquired expressly for the purpose. Being that we were vegetarian that thing never saw meat and I’m sure the butcher who sold it to her would have had a conniption if he’d known what she’d actually planned to use it for. But fuck me it made good nut butter. Rich, brown, roasty and extra chunky on request.
Chunky Chocolate Superbutter
aka The Best Badass Nut Butter
I make a lot of nut butter; there’s usually a minimum of 6 varieties in our cupboard at any one time, because you never know when you’ll need almond and not peanut or when only chai spiced coconut will do where maple walnut will not. But recently I reached what may well have been the pinnacle of my nut butter making career with what may well be the best badass nut butter ever made.
Get this stuff
1 C hazelnuts
1 C almonds
1 C coconut – shredded, desiccated or flakes
2 heaped T cacao or good quality dark cocoa
1 heaped T coconut sugar, you can sub in maple syrup, rice malt syrup or stevia here if you choose
1 t vanilla bean paste or a dash of really good quality vanilla extract
2 heaped T chia seeds
2 heaped T cacao nibs
Do this with it
Roast the hazelnuts and almonds lightly but whatever you do don’t burn the bastards or that charred flavour will fuck the nut butter. As soon as you take the hazelnuts out of the oven wrap them in a clean dry tea towel and give them a good hard rubbing to remove the skins. Don’t spend all day pissing about with this, it doesn’t have to be perfect but just get rid of as much as you possible as the skins can be bitter.
Process the nuts and coconut until you get a mixture that is bordering on liquid. In a Vitamix this takes about 1-2 minute but in a normal kitchen blender or whiz it might be more like 5-10 and you’ll probably need to stop a few times to scrape the sides down. It’ll probably look thick and sticky and like it’s never going to get there but trust me on this one, have patience grasshopper and stick with it. As the oils in the nuts and coconut release you’ll notice it become smooth and glossy and start to move really easily in the mixer. Add the cacao, coconut sugar and vanilla and blitz well to combine thoroughly to a chocolate paste, you don’t want some streaky shit. Now you’ll have a blender full of rich brown gorgeousness that frankly would be fucking awesome just as is but wait, it gets even better. Now toss in the cacao nibs and chia seeds and turn the blender on low and slow. All you want to do here is mix them through, not pulverise them so they retain their texture and add delicious chocolately chunks to the final product.
Now do this – take a spoon, a scraper, hell, let’s be honest, take your finger and dip it straight into that heavenly chocolate mess and tell me that is not the best badass nut butter you’ve ever tasted – amiright?! And because I can find pretty much any excuse in the world for a chocolate fix I use this for everything and anything. A dollop on on my protein pancakes or a drizzle on a sweet omelette for breakfast, a dip for fresh fruit or mixed through greek yoghurt for dessert, spread on my paleo zucchini banana bread or straight off the spoon for a nutrient packed snack to get me through the afternoon. This really is, the nut butter to end all nut butters.