Growing up, peanut butter never sounded all that appealing to me. Aside from Nutella, I didn’t know alternatives for peanut butter even existed. When I moved to Oregon, I found that the grocery stores around me carried almond butter, macadamia nut butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter, sunflower butter, etc. I was surprised and decided to try every single one at some point or another. Much to my astonishment, I loved every single one. I re-tried peanut butter. It didn’t have the same distaste I remembered.
A good peanut butter and jelly sandwich seems quintessential to a kid’s food experience growing up. My partner’s 5 ½ year old has an allergy to peanuts, so he misses out on this simple experience I’m sure most kids don’t appreciate for years. However, he’s not allergic to other nuts. Being that almond or cashew butter can cost us anywhere from $6 – over $10 for a single jar, I decided that making it ourselves would be more cost efficient, tasty, and fun. Plus it would provide a good substitute for that memory-inducing good ol’ PBJ sammich.
Almost any nut can become good butter. I prefer to buy raw nuts instead of pre-roasted in bulk, as they’re cheaper and roasting them at home is extremely easy. Plus already roasted nuts tend to be salted, so you have less control over that factor when flavoring your butter.
Its been interesting for me, starting this blog, because so much of my cooking isn’t measured. I throw in pinches of this, handfuls of that. Not for everything, but most things. This particular cashew butter, for instance. I finally measured out everything today so I could effectively post a recipe that was accurate and still easy enough to follow.
Cashew Macadamia Nut Butter
2 cups raw cashew halves and pieces
(whole cashews are fine, too, but usually more expensive)
1 cup raw macadamia nuts
¼ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. agave syrup
(if you don’t have agave, add 1 more tsp. maple syrup)
½ tsp. grapeseed oil
(or any other mild flavored oil)
Preheat the oven to 275° F. Spread the cashews and macadamia nuts in a single layer on a dry cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for fifteen minutes, stirring once half-way through the cooking time. When done, the nuts should be a light golden color.
Let the nuts cool for about ten minutes. Dump all the cashews and macadamia nuts into a food processor fitted with the large chopping blade. A high-powered blender can also be used. Turn the food processor on. After about 30 seconds, your mixture will look like this:
Continue blending the mixture, scraping the sides down with a rubber spatula as needed. After 2 minutes, the mixture will probably still be quite coarse:
After about 6 minutes, the mixture should start resembling something closer to butter consistency:
Now add in the salt, maple syrup, vanilla and agave syrup. Blend for about 20 seconds. The mixture will start to recede and harden:
Never fear, a little oil (add that now) will soften everything back out:
Blend for an additional 30 – 60 seconds.
This recipe yields about 2 cups of cashew macadamia nut butter:
Store in the refrigerator. Lasts up to 2 months (although I guarantee you’ll go through it faster!)