Saturday, September 5, 2009

Recipe: Easy Natural Cashew (or Peanut) Butter

Hubby and I eat a lot of peanut butter and almond butter, but to buy the kind at the store that is actually healthy is an expensive proposition. For example, a 12-oz. Arrowhead Mills All Natural Creamy Cashew Butter can be had from for $6.84 (plus shipping). Of course, that cashew butter is made with Canola Oil and the safety information indicates that the butter "May contain 0.5% or less of the following almonds, peanuts, and/or sesame seeds."

I made 16 oz. of all-natural cashew butter for $6.99--and I know that it is fresh, because I made it today! Who knows how long ago the peanut or cashew butter you bought at the store was manufactured.

I couldn't believe how easy it was to make, how little time it took, and how few dishes it actually soiled. Honestly, we buy things at the store because doing so is more convenient, but in this case, I don't think buying peanut or cashew butter is more convenient than making it at home. I wonder why I've lived 44 years without making my own peanut butter. Here's the recipe, which can be adapted easily in any number of ways:


-2 c. cashews or peanuts, salted
-1 1/2 tsp. olive oil (I use organic, first cold-pressed olive oil, but you could use any olive or canola oil)
-1/2 tsp. sugar (I substituted 1 tsp. Blue Agave Nectar; I imagine you could substitute 1 tsp. honey or even Splenda or some other sugar substitute, although I would recommend cutting the measurement for the sugar substitute)

Put all the ingredients into a food processor. Tighten down the food processor lid and process for a couple of minutes. At one point, the butter will ball up as it goes around the processor; I continue to process until the ball breaks back up and smooths out and I stop hearing little nut chunks being chopped. Open up your food processor and, using a spatula, scrape around the sides. If you like the consistency (and taste), put in a jar and store in the refrigerator. If you want a smoother consistency, just add a little more olive oil and process a bit more. If you want your butter a little sweeter or saltier, just add a little more sugar/sweetener or salt and reprocess. If you like it chunky, chop up a few nuts and, once you like the consistency, stir the chunks in and then put in the jar.

1 1/2 cups of cashews made 1/2 pint (8 0z.) of cashew butter; I made a full pint using 3 cups of cashews, the size of the Meijer cashews bag. And it is tasty, especially when it is warm right out of the food processor. If you don't want salt, buy unsalted. Or, you can buy unsalted nuts and then add salt to taste, which allows you to control the amount of salt.

I'm going to try making some almond butter in the near future, since in terms of health benefits, that's the butter we prefer. I wonder if it will be more difficult, since almonds are a harder nut than peanuts or cashews. But, as usual, I will keep you posted!

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