Cashew Peanut Butter

We’re a peanut butter household. While Tai is very much a granola or yogurt guy at breakfast time, I am all about peanut butter toast; sometimes with a little jam, often just straight up. Of late, Tai has forsaken his usual turkey wrap for lunch in favor of peanut butter & jelly (in a wrap no less), and he usually brings two (because wrangling 13 year-olds at the cliffs is hungry work), so we go through a lot of peanut butter. Lately, we keep running out. I keep looking for organic peanuts at my whole foods market and keep not finding any, organic or conventional. It’s a peanut embargo. (I know: everyone on the planet is allergic to peanuts these days but, although I have a million-and-one allergies, peanut butter <knock wood> is not one of them. And I appreciate that peanut allergies are serious, can even be deadly: but could we create a special little nook at the market for the non-allergic-intolerant folks? We can put all the peanuts, gluten, wheat, soy, milk, and eggs in there. Because in addition to finding peanuts, I’d also like to find some pretzels that have actual wheat flour in them. But I digress.)

The upshot is, I went looking for organic peanuts online because I’ve been unable to find any in the stores near me. And I also ordered some cashews, because: why not? But I have to say that said online retailer (which shall remain nameless) was a bit disappointing. The peanuts were fine, but certainly not “the best I’ve ever tasted” and the cashews were downright stale: soft & chewy instead of crisp and crunchy and with that flat taste, like they’d been sitting in a bowl on my humid windowsill for a week. What to do with a pound of somewhat stale, flat cashews? Why cashew butter of course!

I love the idea of homemade nut butters: you get to control the amount of oil & salt, get to add a touch of honey if the nuts need a little sweetness, you can roast or not, add some cinnamon or a bit of cayenne for a kick, or even chocolate – anything goes. And you can make combinations that you’d never find in the store: cashew-macadamia-hazlenut butter, anyone? But somehow, as much as I love the idea, I never got around to the execution phase: I was still buying organic crunchy peanut butter from Trader Joe’s. (I blame the peanut embargo. We so need the Nut Nook.) I guess all it took was a pound of less-than-stellar cashews to set me on the straight & narrow: cashew peanut butter. Dead simple. Dead delicious. Try some today! But let me know if you find a good source for organic peanuts, will you? I’m still on the hunt.

Cashew Peanut Butter

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 lb cashews, raw, unsalted
  • 1/2 lb Valencia peanuts with skin, raw, unsalted
  • about 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used local sunflower oil. Strangely enough peanut oil doesn’t really work in peanut butter: it ends up tasting like Chinese food.)
  • 1 tsp honey, optional
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

METHODS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven until just golden and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Add nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Turn the machine on and drizzle oil in through the feed tube, slowly, just until the nuts begin to form a paste. Add a little less than you think you need, as the butter will get smoother and smoother as it processes. Add salt and honey, if using. Allow the butter to process to your preference: a bit dry and grainy, or velvety smooth. I let mine go for about 3 – 5 minutes. Drizzle in a bit more oil if you want the butter to be smoother and a bit less dense. Transfer to a pint jar and store refrigerated.

Yields about 1 pint.

OPTIONS

  1. Practically endless. I added flax seeds to an earlier batch, but they were too small to be ground up by my (admittedly 25 year-old) mini food processor, so the resulting butter was polka-dotted. Not necessarily a bad thing!
  2. If you want a very crunchy texture, reserve about a cup of the nuts to add in at the very end.

STORE

Refrigerated for up to 2 months.

SEASON

Year round.

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13 comments

  1. I used to make homemade peanut butter with my great-grandmother when I was little…. I have fond memories of grinding them down with her and how delicious it was after. Your recipe looks delicious and I love the nut combination.

    • I know: I was sort of shocked the first time I tried it with peanut oil. And maybe it’s just hard to get peanuts that are fresh enough – and contain enough of their own oil – to make good peanut butter. But it definitely seems to need a little help. I’ve made batches before that need very little oil to get going – a tbsp or two – and some that take more, so I expect it can vary quite a bit.

  2. I buy the unsalted almond butter at Trader Joe’s and that’s typically my favorite. But I never even thought of making a nut butter at home! I think I’d enjoy making this with my granddaughters. When I first read the title of your post I thought it referred to something like what my granddaughter (4) said the other day, “Cashews are my favorite peanut!” But you did have peanuts with your cashews! How rich! Debra

  3. What a great idea….I am going to have to try and find a place that sells food processors here….not a very huge market for them! I tried macadamia nut butter in Hawaii about a million years ago, and simply cannot get over it. Thanks for reminding me of things I truly love, aka Peanut Butter!

    • Peanut butter is IMPOSSIBLE to find in Europe, no? And in most of the rest of the world, I’ve found. It’s strange how very American it is; you wouldn’t think that until you try to find it somewhere else!

      • We do get peanut butter here finally, but no other nut butters….which I am completely addicted to! But when I first moved here, it was impossible. I used to bring them back from the States……I think I need to have some peanut butter now.

  4. jen c

    the cool thing about other nut butters is that you can often make them cheaper yourself. may not be true for peanut butter, since even the organic version is pretty cheap in my usual markets. but $11 for a jar of almond butter? yikes! so i wait for the whole nuts to go on sale, buy up, put the overage in the freezer and then make small batches as needed.

  5. We go through peanut butter like it’s going out of style, except of course that it never goes out of style. 🙂 Peanuts and cashews together sound great!

  6. Have you tried savory peanut butter sandwiches? Sriracha, sesame oil, scallions and cilantro make a wicked Thai-tasting lunch, especially on sourdough with extra gluten. I bet it would be great with cashews too.

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