Peanut butter is the cupboard staple of the fit and healthy. Chock full of good fats and high in calories, it’s great for gym-goers to keep energy up and also comes with a hefty wack of fibre and protein, meaning you stay fuller and more satisfied for longer. So when slump time cravings hit during the day at the office or when you find yourself at a loss for a mid-morning or pre-workout snack, rest assured nut butter will quickly come to the rescue.
Pretty much any nut can be transformed into nut butter, each with its own distinct taste and flavour, from pecans and cashews to pistachios and hazelnuts. Often, shop-bought nut butters of different varieties will have peanut butter as a base though for familiarity and ease.
Making it at home is a task so easy that you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried it before and may question ever getting it from the supermarket ever again. All golden, runny and full of good fats, this is going to be your new snack time favourite. No jar of nut butter from the supermarket shelf tastes as good as the homemade version, trust us!
There’s a little bit of alchemy that happens when you make nut butter; the mixture will go through a number of stages and at each one you will think you will never get to the next, but it will. From whole nuts to fragmented pieces, coarse rubble to fine, dry sand, slowly, ever so slowly, the oils in the nuts will begin to release and you will see the mixture start to slacken and loosen up into a thick paste, then a thin paste.
There’s a whole world of recipes out there that will tell you how to make this delicious delicacy. Some recipes will suggest adding a few drops of peanut oil or coconut oil to speed up the process and add lubrication but if you have patience and a sturdy food processor you shouldn’t need anything but the nuts and a little coarse salt to increase friction. Also, we’re pretty strict on our sugar intake so we wouldn’t advise adding sugar here – it simply doesn’t need it!
2. As your processor keeps blitzing, stop it every minute or so to scrape down the sides and help along the process, all the while giving your poor processor a bit of a break!
3. The process altogether will last between 10 and 15 minutes. You will know you’ve reached the final stage when the mixture has turned creamy and soft and looks exactly how you want it to.
4. Decant to a jar and store at room temperature, where it will happily keep for a week or keep in the fridge where it will last at least three times that.
5. There may be a natural oil separation that occurs after it’s left alone and settled, which is completely normal. Simply stir vigorously and like magic it will come together again.
For an extra peanut hit, roast nuts with their skins on for a couple of minutes before starting the recipe. Wait until they turn golden, then continue the process above which will result in a darker, more intense flavour and colour. Why not combine different nuts in the processor for a unique flavour?
This is perfect for snacks, especially spread on rice cakes, wholegrain crackers or even on slices of crisp apple or dunked with banana – fruit is nut butter’s best friend! Make sure you have a stash of fruit at the office, which we can help with. For dinner, use it as a base for a satay sauce alongside a crunchy veg-filled stir fry – we love Michelle Hunt’s almond butter pork satay recipe on Peachy Palate.