This week’s food challenge was totally cool and amazingly fun — I made nut butter!
At first when I decided to do this, all the homemade nut butter recipes that I found online mentioned the use of a food processor. I got a little discouraged because I do not have a food processor (I plan on getting one some time soon…). But, fortunately, I do my trusty food blender, so I decided to give it a try anyways.
I thought about making almond butter or cashew butter, but when I dug through my pantry, I found a bag of walnut halves that I totally forgot about. So, I ended up making some homemade walnut butter instead.
Making nut butter was a quick and straight-forward process. I first toasted the walnuts to enhance their aroma and reduce their natural bitterness (I read online that toasting can help reduce their tannins which contribute to their bitter taste). Then, after letting it cool down slightly, I simply poured the walnuts into the blender and let the blender do its job. The walnuts went from large chunks, to a fine crumb texture and then eventually it turned into a smooth, creamy consistency. Viola! Homemade walnut butter.
The Taste Test: Plain Walnut Butter
Proud of my work, and very anxious to see how this walnut butter would taste, I immediately sampled it. First, a strong walnut aroma hit my palette, and then I could sense the rich, creaminess of the walnut butter with a very faint hint of sweetness from the honey. However, after I swallowed my first bite, a slightly bitter aftertaste lingered at the back of my tongue. Did I accidently burn some of the walnuts when I was toasting it? Or was it the walnut’s natural bitterness? I wasn’t sure but because of that slight bitterness that I got, I can’t really say that this homemade nut butter had been a total success. It was great that I could turn whole nuts into nut butter, but to be honest, I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t taste as good as I had hoped for.
The Taste Test: Pretzels dipped in Walnut Butter
Disappointed but not discouraged completely yet, I then decided that I would try this walnut butter with some food, and see if the flavours would taste better than eating it straight out of the food blender. I chose to dip pretzels into the walnut butter for a classic salty sweet flavour combination. Mmmm. When I paired salty, crunchy pretzels to the sweet, creamy walnut butter, the flavours complemented each other very nicely and I could not taste the bitterness anymore. Needless to say, this combination is definitely a keeper. Yum!
Homemade Walnut Butter
Makes about 1/2 cup.
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil [I used canola oil]
- 2 teaspoons honey
- A pinch of salt
- Toast walnuts at 350F for about 10 – 15 minutes. The aroma of toasted nuts will fill your kitchen and you’ll know it’s ready by then. Watch them carefully, don’t let them burn though!
- Remove walnuts from the oven and let them cool to room temperature on baking sheet.
- Meanwhile, whisk together vegetable oil and honey. Set aside. You can zap the honey in the microwave for 15 secs to warm it slightly, make it easier to work with.
- Pour the nuts into the food blender (or use the food processor if you have one). Add in a generously pinch of salt. Turn it on and let it blend for a few minutes.
- When nuts get blended into a fine crumb texture, slowly drizzle in vegetable oil and honey mixture. Let the blender run until you get a smooth, creamy consistency (takes about 2 – 3 minutes). If the nut butter is too thick for your taste, thin it out by adding in just a little bit more oil.
- Taste the walnut butter and add more honey to taste.
- Transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator (use it up as soon as possible for best quality). Enjoy!
The verdict: Eating walnut butter right out of a jar is probably not a good idea, but it can be a very tasty alternative to plain ol’ peanut butter! Next I will venture pairing walnut butter to other foods, for example using it as an oatmeal topping or even substituting it for peanut butter in my favourite Peanut Sauce recipe (super excited to see how that would turn out actually ). And after I am finished eating this very first batch of homemade nut butter, I’ll like to experiment with other nuts, starting with this mouth-watering recipe for Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter from Ashley at the edible perspective and then moving onto other nuts…say maybe pistachio or pecans!?
Do you make your own nut butter? Which nut butter do you enjoy the most? Do you taste any bitterness when you eat walnuts?