I have such a crush on myself. When I make something this delicious, I seriously want to take myself out on a date, like to an old Woody Allen movie and then take a long walk in a moonlit garden, followed by herbal tea and puzzles.
Some friends came to dinner the other night and brought me a huge bag full of fresh hazelnuts from the tree in their yard. Oh lord, hold me back. It took me a couple days to figure out what to do with them, so as I sat cracking open every single one by hand (I don’t recommend this method, unless you have a ridiculous amount of time on your hands), I fantasized about what the hazelnuts might become. Biscotti? Tarts? Scones? For once, I wasn’t in the mood for baking, and I really didn’t want to eat anything sugary. I also wanted make something that wouldn’t overwhelm or distract from the delicate flavour of these special treats. Then it dawned on me: just blend them up! Hazelnut butter.
I am a big fan of nut butters (except peanut, more on that later). They are a wonderful substitute for regular butter on toast in the morning, super on crepes or pancakes, and delicious in dressings. Spread jam or drizzle some honey on top, or throw a few banana slices on. Kids LOVE this stuff because it tastes rich and unhealthy. I tried hazelnut butter a couple years ago, but the high cost of it put me off, and I realized, although totally gorgeous, it was one of those luxuries I could live without. But here I stand today begging you to try this recipe, as it’s the easiest one I’ve ever posted, and the money you save making it yourself is a bonus (pssst…it’s also good for you).
Hazelnuts work well in this recipe because they are so high in oil, the best known source of Vitamin E in fact, essential for healthy heart muscles, the formation of red blood cells and normal functioning of the reproductive system. The body of a hazelnut is between 60 – 70% oil. The hazelnuts turn from a powder to a more liquid state once their cell walls are broken, releasing the oil inside. It’s a very exciting thing to watch – total food porn.
Hazelnuts are also a good source of calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium. Although they are relatively high in fat, it’s a good fat and they are cholesterol free. In fact, the oleic acid in the fat of hazelnut oil is said to reduce cholesterol. Groovy.
2 cups shelled hazelnuts
1. I started by cracking the hazelnuts by hand, but you can buy them already shelled at the grocery store. For the best flavour, look for organic hazelnuts and check the expiry date, since fresher nuts will taste the best.
2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Lay the shelled hazelnuts out in a shallow pan or baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes until the skins crack. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and remove skins by rubbing nuts with a rough cloth.
3. Once completely cool, transfer the cooled hazelnuts to a blender or food processor and process for 1-2 minutes to finely grind them to a powder. Scrape down the sides of the container. Continue to process the nuts an additional 1-2 minutes, to form a smooth and creamy paste. Transfer the hazelnut butter to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
Tip: if you would like the consistency of the butter to be creamier, add between 1 and 2 tablespoons of safflower oil while the blender is running.
You could really use any nut for this recipe. Why not try almonds, cashews, pistachios, or for a real indulgence, macadamia nuts? Ooh la la.
You can also add honey, agave nectar, maple syrup or other sweeteners to your nut butter. How about sea salt, spices like cinnamon, or even cocoa? Sexy.
What’s wrong with peanut butter?
Here are a few reasons to give it up:
1. First of all, many people all allergic to peanuts. The majority of schools, daycare centers and camps now prohibit peanuts and peanut products from entering their grounds, since children are increasingly allergic to them.
2. Conventional peanuts are grown with very high levels of pesticides, and they are often genetically modified.
3. Most conventional brands of peanut butters contain additives including sugar, hydrogenated oils, and emulsifiers. If you’re going to eat peanut butter, at the very least, go for organic brands that are made just with peanuts, or peanuts and salt.
4. Finally, when peanuts grow, they can harbor a carcinogenic mold that contains aflatoxin. This goes for conventional and organic peanuts. In fact, peanut farmers have a disproportionately high rate of cancer. This mold grows on peanuts, pecans, pistachios, grains, soybeans, spices, walnuts and it can even grow on milk in warm humid soils. Aflatoxin is known to cause liver cancer.
**A recent study found the highest levels of this toxin in health food store ground fresh peanut butters! And we thought we were doing ourselves a favour!**
(A way to avoid all this nonsense is to buy peanut butter grown from a hot, dry place. Mold does not flourish on peanuts grown in areas such as Arizona, so check out brands like Arrowhead Mills that are grown there and processed there.)
Okay, back to the nut butter bright side. Besides being cost effective and delicious, this hazelnut butter recipe is one of those food experiences that makes you feel like a culinary genius. Being able to make something that you thought you had to buy is so exciting. This would be a great activity to do with kids, as they will surely marvel at the fact that they make nut butter themselves, plus, they can peel all the nuts for you. All you have to do is turn the blender on.
So kiss your P.B. buh-bye and bring nut butters into your life. Then ask yourself out on a date because you are one smart cookie.
info source: mercola.com
29 thoughts on “Nut Butter Me Up”
Hi! Love your nut butter, especially the chocolate hazelnut one. It has become a staple in my house.
I have a slightly unrelated question. Do you know Tahini? It’s basically sesame seeds butter. Would you have a recipe that does not have (too much) oil? Thanks!
Thank you so much for your incredible work.
I love your blog and books.
I have a question for you: would you recommend soaking the raw hazelnuts before roasting them in the oven and processing them into nut butter to ensure that the enzyme inhibitors are being released? I don’t read about it in this post but have in your books.
Thank you for your time to answer.
All my best wishes,
Wanna make more delicious nuts butter more easily, maybe this tool can help you in the future.
Hi Sarah! I have a question: Why do you peel the hazelnuts? Aren’t they nutrients in the skins?
Thanks you for the answer! And happy new year!
I have just made mine, and i have a problem with a texture. Its smooth but not creamy. Its more like a well done dough (like a sandpie). Should i mixe more? I confess that i done my butter in a manual blender (Turbotupp from Tupperware). Sarah, help me please !
I have roasted and peeled the skins off. Please let me know which appliance you prefer better, food processor or Vitamix? Lovely recipe:)
I tried making almond butter yesterday with soaked nuts. I didn’t dehydrate or roast them after soaking. Just left them spread out overnight to dry. What resulted after almost an hour in my food processor is a greasy dough-like mess. Probably cooked from the amount of heat and steam coming off. From some reading I’ve done, it seems it is not recommended to soak before making nut butters. Unless you have a dehydrator, perhaps? I’m wondering what to make with my 7$ worth of almond dough mess now.
Hi Shona – yes, you MUST dehydrate the nuts after soaking them if you are going to make but butter. Oh what a mess! Just keep the blended nuts in the fridge or freezer and make nut milk in small amounts. That is what I would do. Good luck with the next batch!
I’ve see a few recipes using half raw almonds and half roasted to make the nut butter with….. that’s after both have been steeped in water… have you tried this method? Love the site….
Could you cite the study that talks about the peanut mold? I’d like to read it. Thanks!
Sarah, you’re SO FREAKIN CUTE. This blog post (although it’s not recent) makes me wanna squeeze you every time I read it. Yes, I’ve read it more than once. 😉 I’m constantly browsing your blog, making your recipes, and dreaming/drooling of my next kitchen creation. Thanks for the wonderful foodie flair you bring with every post!
New to making flavored butter and was wondering if any one has any other good recipes for them? thanks.
I made the hazelnut butter today. Yummo! I used it inside your superfood nut butter cups…to die for. They’re so good, I want to marry me! Thank you for your informative, delicious, healthful, wonderful recipes. You are so wonderful, Sarah!
Trying not to sound raving mad (like another poster), but I also tend to think that your argument against peanut butter is flawed.
Your whole premise is based on the idea that the only way to consume peanut butter is to buy a big tub of Jif. You spend this entire post explaining how delicious, healthful, and rewarding making your own nut butter can be – but then exclude peanut butter? If you like peanuts (and no one in your family is allergic to them), why not simply source organic, non-GMO peanuts and grind them yourself?
Here are a few ways you can continue to eat peanuts, guilt-free:
1. If your child’s school prohibits peanut products, then enjoy them at home.
2. Conventional peanuts are grown with huge amounts of pesticides or are genetically-modified; choose organic instead.
3. Agreed: don’t buy any peanut butter whose ingredients contain anything more than peanuts and sea salt.
4. I’m no expert, but perhaps the high levels of pesticides used on conventional peanut farms are the real reason the farmers have higher incidence of cancer. If you’re concerned about mold, then again, buy organic, whole peanuts, and grind your own butter.
Just some food for thought…
This article really pissed me off…you and your rant on peanut butter being bad for you! Talking about the mold that grows on the peanuts….ridiculous! Mostly because that mold also grows on pecans, pistachios, soy! spices! walnuts and milk? Let’s just not eat! Admit it, breathing is carcinogenic. Live while you can! I f-ing love peanut butter and I’m going to eat it because I only got one life! And i don’t think my daily intake of peanut butter (which is a la natural thank you very much) isn’t something I’m going to regret at the end…
I can’t believe it took me so long to try this… Just made two batches, one plain and another with a dash of cinnamon and honey. It turnt out so extremely awesome I would like to run around to get all my friends a glass of it – but chances are I keep these delicious spreads a hidden secret to have it all by myself – lol!
Sarah, thanks for being such an inspiration and motiviation for living both a healthier and tastier life!
I made my first batch of hazelnut butter today and i am HOOKED! sooooo delicious! Tonight i mixed some with some cacao powder, acai powder, maple syrup and coconut oil and made them into the most delicious little chocolate balls ever! YUM!
me again :-))!
I made the nut butter yesterday and it turned out really well. Then I added some raw cacao and maple syrup (because it gets too try again with the cacao) and now, I eat a small cobbler of natural yogurt with a tsp of the hazelnut-cacao-spread. It’s soo delicious! I used to love hazelnut yogurt, but not knowing how much sugar the bought-ones have, I stopped buying flavored ones long time ago. And so I stopped eating hazelnut yogurt. Since yesterday. NOW – I eat my own yummy super-duper-to-get-nuts hazelnut yogurt twice a day!
T H A N K S ! !
If you are going to make sprouted almond butter, yes, peel the skins first but then you MUST dehydrate the nuts (unless you are going to eat the nut butter within a couple days). Lightly roasting is a better technique in this case, but do what you like 🙂
Best, Sarah B
Sarah, I was planning on making almond butter. After I soak the nuts, must I peel off the skin? Or should I leave the skin on? Thanks!
Mmm hazelnut butter sounds fantastic! I’ve see hazelnut milk at the grocery store. I’ve always wanted to try making nut milk, have you succeeded?
This is very doable. Hazelnuts are my favourite nut, and I never really considered making my own nut spread. Thank you for the idea and directions.
Thanks for such a great post! This is totally delicious, and I’ve ditched the peanut butter!
It was fun meeting you on strøget the other day…Anyway, I like your blog, very inspiring, I’ll might butter my future meals up a little. It could be ‘hyggeligt’ to hear some more about your health-project…Heres my email: Louisvj@ofir.dk.