Do you love fresh food? Do you love walnuts? Do you have 10 minutes?
If you answered “yes” to the above, then I’ve got a super simple DIY walnut butter recipe to share with you.
I got the idea to try making my own walnut butter when I saw my sister demo the freshly-made peanut butter machine to my kids at a local health food store:
Sister: “Look, kids. This is so cool. You just press this button and voila! Fresh peanut butter!”
Preschoolers: “Yayyyyyyyyy!!!!” (complete with clapping and jumping up and down)
Preschooler 1: “I want peanut butter!”
Preschooler 2: “Yeah, I want peanut butter too!”
I’m looking at the machine cranking out peanut butter and thinking, “Gee. That is so simple. I bet I can do that at home!”
And I discovered that if you have an oven and a food processor, it really is that simple to do at home. It also is a great way to save some serious cash for relatively little work – Artisana Organics’ Walnut Butter, which I love, is $12-ish for an 8 ounce jar. With this DIY, you can have Champagne taste on a beer budget, or at least not have to make a special trip for the store for said champagne, a.k.a. “walnut butter.”
The key to making this taste great is selecting fresh, raw walnuts. If you buy them shelled in a bag, taste test 1-2 to make sure they taste buttery and have not gone rancid. I highly recommend making this in the fall and winter when it’s easy to find fresh tree nuts at the farmer’s market (in California, tree nuts are available year round but are usually harvested in the fall).
The great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. This recipe works for pretty much any nut: walnut, pecan, almond, hazelnut, peanut, etc. You can also mix up the nuts for some really delicious butters. And who says you have to stick to plain old salt either? Add some pizazz with some spices if you’re feeling adventurous (Cayenne pepper, cumin, and sugar? Cinnamon? Sky is the limit here!).
Time to Tastiness: 10 – 15 minutes
- Enough shelled walnuts (or mixture of tree nuts) to cover a baking sheet (Approx. 2-3 cups)
- Salt (Optional, to taste. I use 1/8 tsp)
- Honey (Optional, to taste. I use 1 tsp)
- Any other spice you’d like to experiment with (Optional, to taste)
Directions to Deliciousness:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Spread the tree nuts in one layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
- After 5-7 minutes, check the tree nuts to see if they are warm to the touch and glisten a little. If so, they are ready to remove from the oven. Note that we are not roasting the nuts; just merely warming them up so that the natural oils in them are released. If they need more time, keep them in a few more minutes. Just keep an eye on them – it is much better to undercook than to over cook them (Ask me how I know this…).
- Let the nuts cool on a towel or cooling rack until they are warm (not hot) to the touch.
- Pour all the nuts into your food processor unless you want crunchy butter. If you want crunchy butter, save about 1/5 of the nuts (you’ll add them in at the very end).
- Blend the nuts until they have a creamy consistency. You may notice the nuts first turn into what appears to be a powder; keep blending and the nuts will eventually turn into a butter. I have found that this takes about 2-3 minutes of processing.
- Taste and add in any seasoning (salt, sugar, and/or spices) until you like what you taste. Process to blend in any seasoning you add.
- If you are making a crunchy butter, add in the remaining nuts and pulse a few times to chop them up and incorporate them. Taste again and adjust the seasoning with salt, sugar, and/or spices if needed.
- Enjoy with bread or sliced fruit (bananas or apples are especially delicious). Any leftover butter should be refrigerated.