Almond, Coconut & Chia Seed Butter

Now who likes peanut butter? I used to hate it. Growing up I disliked nuts generally. I remember family buffets, sitting at the table with my sister and picking all the dried fruit out of the fruit and nut mix. However, I did used to like walnuts. Both of us at ours Grandma’s, cracking open walnuts in front of the fire. It’s funny how I wouldn’t eat them in a nut mix but I would out of their shells. Peanuts were another no go. My dad loved (and still does) salted peanuts and my friend would always buy peanut M&Ms when we would go to the cinema. But me, I just couldn’t stand the smell of them. I would sit as far away as possible.

But now, I love them. I’d quite happily snack on a handful of unsalted nuts (my favourites being cashew and almonds) and peanut butter has a multitude of uses. Mixed into chocolate brownies, cookies, with banana on toast, stirred into porridge or spread on a rice cake. Then I tried other nut butters, like almond, and these were even better than your bog standard peanut butters. When you start to look into the ingredients on some of the nut butters on the market, it’s crazy some of the extra things that are added like sugar and palm oil. So it got me thinking, is it difficult to make your own?

My first attempt was following Jamie Oliver’s basic recipe in his Everyday Superfood book. I toasted a mixture of cashew and almond nuts and then blitzed them in a mini chopper. Now, a lesson I learnt from making this batch was that I didn’t blitz them for long enough. If you think you have, add on an extra five minutes. The texture of mine was quite thick and although it tasted nice, it was difficult to spread onto toast or stir into my morning porridge. A second attempt was needed.

Then, my sister gave me some almond and coconut butter to try. I’m not a big fan of coconut, in particular desiccated coconut because of the texture. Bounty’s are always left at Christmas when the Celebrations tub comes out. But this nut butter was amazing and I was gutted when I finished it.

So, imagine my delight when I came across a recipe book by Pip & Nut. In the book was a recipe for Almond, Coconut and Chia Nut Butter. There was also a detailed guide on how to make your own standard nut butter. For this process, they advised that it would take at least 10 minutes to blitz the nuts into a butter (depending on the power of your food processor) and that it should be smooth and glossy. I use a mini processor as it is a small quantity being blitzed. I also stop every two minutes to let the motor cool down so I don’t overheat (lesson learnt when using a hand mixer to make a Christmas Cake one year). So, would take me longer than 10 minutes but at least it’s an idea (more than I had with my first attempt). If you are a fan of nut butters, you need to give this recipe a go. There are even more recipes in the book and suggestions for use (an excuse to go buy a copy). Below is how I made the nut butter. This was different to how the recipe stated due to me misreading it (whoops). Chia seeds aren’t a must to the recipe so don’t worry if you don’t want to include them. However, they are not difficult or expensive to buy. Home bargains sell bags of these a lot cheaper than anywhere else I’ve seen. Tesco also sell ‘shot packs’ which would be enough to make this butter. By the way, the recipe makes enough for one jar. I’ve been keeping mine in the cupboard.

nut-butter

200g whole almonds (skin on)

1 tbsp chia seeds (white or black)

75g creamed coconut (buy from supermarket, packed in individual sachets)

pinch of sea salt

1/2 tbsp agave nectar (or honey or maple syrup)

To roast the almonds:

Pre-heat oven to 150C. Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until golden brown. This will take around 10-15 minutes but keep an eye on them as they can quickly burn. Once roasted, cool for 5 minutes.

To make them into butter:

Tip the nuts into a food processor. I find that my mini food processor is more powerful when chopping nuts compared to my standard one. Blitz for two minutes. The nuts will turn into a crumble texture and will need scraping down with a spatula. I left my processor to cool for two minutes. I blitz for two minutes and left to cool for two minutes throughout the process. After six minutes of blitzing, a ball formed. After another four minutes of blitzing the nuts were smooth but looked to still have a rough texture (this was when I stopped when making Jamie’s nut butter). After another four minutes, the nut butter started to look smooth and glossy. If you want a basic almond butter, stop at this stage.

Add the creamed coconut and sea salt and blitz until smooth. I found that this made the texture appear runnier and glossier than before. Add the chia seeds and agave nectar and blitz until well combined. Pour the nut butter into an airtight container. When pouring into a jar, I found the texture quite runny but it has thickened over time.

The result, a lip smacking delicious nut butter. Although it feels like a long process when you blitzing (especially when taking the rest periods like me) the final product is definitely worth it. Now I know the basic method of making it, I am going to be trying my own combinations.

 

 

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Maple Walnut Muffins

Sorry for the lateness of this post. I’m now helping Mr W with the decorating (fair play to him for painting all the high bits) and was too tired last night to write anything. A number of people have been asking where my latest post was (I didn’t realise anyone was paying such close attention), so, this is for you.

Yesterday was quite a busy day. Mr W took me out for a lovely Sunday lunch at Northcote, which we would recommend to anyone. This was then followed by an evening of decorating. This meant that I didn’t have much time to bake anything fancy. Instead, I decided on muffins which, I think, are one of the quickest bakes to make (bonus being that you don’t need to decorate) and are ready to eat straight from the oven.

Again, I adapted a recipe from one of my cook books (Baking Magic). The original recipe was for Maple Pecan Munchies but I had walnuts in so used these instead. Baking these was easy with only a few steps. Minimal washing up which is always a bonus. Although the end result was acceptable, there is definitely room for improvement. One suggestion was filling the centre with a maple buttercream which would give it something extra. I also don’t think they look too great…


Maple Walnut MuffinsMaple Walnut Muffins Makes 12

300g self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

125g caster sugar

1/2 tsp mixed spice

75g walnuts, roughly chopped, plus extra for topping

2 eggs, beaten

75ml milk

100 ml natural yogurt

4 tbsp maple syrup, plus extra for topping

85g butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 170C. Grease or line a 12 hole muffin tin.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice together into a large bowl. Add the walnuts.
  3. In a separate bowl or jug, combine the eggs, milk, yogurt and maple syrup, then stir in the butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir together until just mixed. Spoon big dollops of the mixture into the prepared muffin tin and sprinkle over some more chopped walnuts.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Brush the tops of the muffins with some maple syrup whilst still warm,