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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- If you want a very crunchy texture, reserve about a cup of the nuts to add in at the very end.
Refrigerated for up to 2 months.