Saturday 1 October 2016

Indy Power: nuts for cookie butter

This sweet cashew spread keeps for up to four weeks - but you'll be doing well to make it last that long!

Published 29/05/2016 | 02:30

Cookie dough cashew butter
Cookie dough cashew butter
Indy Power. Photo: Patrick Bolger
Step 1: blend cashews until fine
Step 2: blend until smooth
Step 3: Stir in the Cacao nibs
Toasted nut butters: pistachio, hazelnut and cashew.
Vitamix

This is a great alternative to sugary brand-name spreads for kids. Roasted cashews have the best flavour and when you blend them with vanilla and a pinch of salt it tastes so like cookie dough. Really!

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I've gone for maple syrup as the sweetener but you can sub in honey if you prefer.

Cookie dough cashew butter

Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan & paleo-friendly. Makes 1 jar.

You will need

300g cashews

2 tbsp maple syrup

¼ tsp vanilla powder

Pinch of coarse salt

3 tbsp cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spread the cashews out on a baking tray and roast for about eight minutes until golden.

Add the roasted cashews to your food processor and blend until fine. Drizzle in the maple syrup and vanilla powder and sprinkle in a pinch of coarse salt. Blend on high until you have a smooth cashew butter. The mixture will eventually clump together into a ball and then liquify into a smooth butter. Depending on how powerful your food processor is, this can take anywhere between 4 and 10 minutes.

If it's warm, let the cashew butter cool for a few minutes, then stir in the cacao nibs.

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

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In the mix

You can’t make nut butter without some sort of food processor and when it comes down to it, the more powerful the better. Depending on what kind you have, waiting for the ‘butter’ to happen can either feel like hours or seconds. I have a regular food processor and a Vitamix, which is a really powerful high speed blender. I use my Vitamix for making soups, sauces, energy balls and nut butters but they’re very expensive and you can do all of this in a regular food processor too. There are also some things you can only do in a food processor, like slicing and chopping so if you’re starting out I recommend going for a food processor. Kenwood and Magimix both do great food processors and have loads of options depending on your budget. If you use it all the time then save up for a Vitamix (below).

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Indy loves…

Vanilla powder is my latest obsession. I use the one from Nua Naturals (in all good health shops), which is made by grinding pure whole vanilla pods and there’s nothing else added. It has the most incredible flavour, so much more than vanilla essence and you only need to use a tiny bit, about a quarter teaspoon for most recipes. It has such an intense vanilla flavour that it tastes gorgeously sweet and you can usually get away with using a lot less sweetener, or even none at all and still make delicious treats. Check out the Vanilla & Coconut Pistachio Balls on my website.

Butter up

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Homemade nut butters are delicious and there’s so many ways you can play around with flavours. You can use any nuts you like, and seeds too, but cashews, almonds and hazelnuts are firm favourites. No matter which you choose, I recommend roasting the nuts before — it amps up the flavour and is so worth the few extra minutes it takes. I switch it up with things like cinnamon, cacao powder and even turmeric depending on what I feel like. Most of the time I just eat it with a spoon straight out of the jar but there’s endless ways to enjoy it — swirl it into porridge, dunk fruit in it or add it to smoothies!

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