How to make healthy choices every day

Bali Butter


I miss Bali. Or maybe I just miss the warmth, the sun, the vibrancy, the life bursting forth from every nook and cranny. I miss living outside, I miss my eyes being assaulted by colours, and layers upon layers of wild sounds, but hey, it’s March in Ontario and this is a familiar feeling. Are you feeling it too?

A couple weeks ago when I was in the depths of yet another snowstorm, feeling like spring may never come, I came up with this recipe to remedy my winter woes. It’s called Bali Butter – and it’s the most delicious thing to cross my lips since I could see grass outside my window. A rich combination of cashews, coconut, and cacao, blended together with coconut sugar and salt, it’s like the nut butter of DREAMS in all of its salty-sweet-crunchy-chocolatey glory. And I am really excited to share this one with you, wherever you and no matter what season you’re experiencing.


What does one do with Bali Butter, you ask? Let me tell you, it goes on all. the. things. Pancakes, waffles, smoothie bowls, toast, rice cakes, ice cream, fruit salad, porridge, yogurt, and fingers! You can stuff dates with Bali Butter, stick them in the fridge and have something delicious on hand to satisfy those salty-sweet-fat cravings too. Slice a banana lengthwise, slather Bali Butter in the middle and sandwich it together again. I even like it with carrot sticks. No joke.

I chose to use coconut sugar in my Bali Butter because it’s one of the main sweeteners used on the island and you can easily find it everywhere. Some of you may be curious about using liquid sweetener as an alternative, but the problem with using something like maple syrup or honey, is that it causes the nut butter to seize up. Fat is hydrophobic (translation: it’s “afraid” of water) and will stiffen when it comes into contact with anything that contains it. Using a solid sweetener, like coconut sugar, avoids this problem and keeps the finished product relaxed and runny. If you don’t want to use coconut sugar and you don’t mind a less-spreadable version of Bali Butter, sweeten it with whatever you have on hand.



I think I’ve talked about all of these ingredients respectively, but for the heck of it, let’s recap why they’re awesome!

Coconut – I chose to use coconut flesh instead of just coconut oil in this recipe, and that is because there is a big difference between the nutrition in coconut oil and coconut flesh. Desiccated (dried) coconut is a whole food, so with it you’re getting the dietary fiber and protein that you won’t find in the oil alone. Although coconut products have risen in popularity, especially in the world of “health food”, it’s important to remember that coconut fat is mostly saturated, and should be consumed in moderation.

Cashews – Contrary to popular belief, cashews have a lower fat content than most nuts. And 66% of their fats are heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil. Cashews are an excellent source of copper, and a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. They also contain good amounts of fiber, so that they keep you feeling full for longer. 

Cacao – One of the best sources of magnesium found in nature, in addition to containing high amounts calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulfur, and potassium, cacao is a nutritional powerhouse. It also contains many chemical compounds that enhance physical and mental well-being, including alkaloids, proteins, magnesium, beta-carotene, leucine, linoleic acid, lipase, lysine, and some neurotransmitters such as dopamine and anandamide – which explains why eating chocolate makes you feel so darn good! 

Coconut sugar – Sometimes called coconut palm sugar, this incredibly delicious sweetener is high in minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. It is happily low glycemic, ranking 35 on the GI scale, compared to agave at 42, honey at 55, cane sugar at 68. This is due to coconut sugar’s composition of long-chain saccharides, which are absorbed by the body at a slower rate than something like refined white sugar. Coconut sugar also contains amino acids, which are thought to slow down the rate at which the sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, acting as a “buffer” of sorts. 

 

 


Some notes on the recipe. It’s very important that you make coconut butter to start, as it creates the liquid base to help the get the cashews going in the food processor. Once you’ve made the coconut-cashew butter, feel free to stop there (it tastes incredible on its own), or go all the way as I have and add the cacao, coconut sugar and salt.

I like to leave my Bali Butter out of the fridge, since it remains liquid and spreadable at room temperature. If you refrigerate it, Bali Butter with harden completely. You can roll it into balls and make yourself some pretty delicious little energy bites when it’s in this state, but it’s impossible to drizzle when chilled.  

If you’re into smooth nut butters, simply leave the cacao nibs out of the equation. They aren’t necessary for any other purpose than crunch, which I personally feel is essential, but I won’t judge anyone for skipping them. Even though you’re obviously crazy 😉




19 thoughts on “Bali Butter”

  • Do you happen to have a source of ethically produced cashews? I find it frustrating that so many food blogs are using more and more cashews, but no one seems to be addressing how horribly these are produced. (For those not in the know, look up blood cashews.) It’s even more jarring when you consider the vegan focus of many of these cashew-based recipes. (Is it really okay that humans are tortured to produce a food as long as animals are spared? That seems a bit perplexing.) Cashews are truly delicious, but I find it hard to bring myself to buy them not knowing how most are sourced.

    • Hi Jen,

      You bring up a VERY important point and issue! Cashews, like so many other “health foods” are in greater demand, which effects the production and supply chain greatly. I found out about a fantastic company while I was in Bali this time, East Bali Cashews (https://www.eastbalicashews.com/) They’re a social enterprise that emphasizes livable wages, social initiatives, and environmentally friendly equipment. I bought a bunch of their products while I was there and brought some home with me 🙂 They’re available commercially in Asia, Australia, Germany, and the UK. Not sure where you live, but you should seek them out!

      All the best,
      Sarah B

  • I went home and made this as soon as I saw the recipe. I didn’t bother toasting the nuts or coconut (I have chronic pain issues and always skip steps like this to simplify recipes when I can), and it still came out great. Every time I make nut butters, I spend the first few minutes thinking, “I must be doing something wrong. Something’s not right. Why isn’t this working??” Then all of a sudden, hey presto! A smooth nut butter appears in my food processor.

    I will note that I keep my house around 60° in the winter, so even out on the counter this butter hardened considerably. It was still spreadable, and became runny on my hot toast, but if I wanted to drizzle it I’d have to sit it in a bowl of warm water first.

    This is really a lovely recipe, Sarah. I plan to use it in power-balls and on everything else. It will be a new staple in my cupboard. Thanks!

    • Hi Elanine,

      Thanks for your enthusiasm! I’m so glad you tried the recipe without toasting and it still turned out well 🙂 I admire you for keeping such a cool house…mine is around 68° and the Bali Butter is totally liquid over here! Haha. Glad you have some ideas on how to use it anyway – your powerballs sound amazing.

      All love,
      Sarah B

  • Ah, like a nutella but swap out the hazelnuts for cashews. I will alternate with the recipe as hazelnuts are pricey…HAPPY SMEARING and feasting of course!

    • Yes, like Nutella, but with COCONUT! So kind of totally different 😉 If you like coconut, you’ll love this! Happy smearing indeed!

      xo, Sarah B

    • Hi Elita,

      I just got this one recently, and it’s pretty good: CUISINART DFP-14BCNYC Custom 14-Cup Food Processor
      I hope that helps!

      Best,
      Sarah B

  • Dear Sarah, what a dream of a recipe! I, however, want to emphasize that coconut fat is actually not healthy. It contains some MCT but most of the oil of coconuts is Lauric acid which is not a MCT. It is long enough to behave like a long-chain fatty acid and therefore is bad for the heart. This is repeatedly claimed by the folks at the Harvard School of Public health and Prof. W. Willet, the world’s leading nutritionist. See for example https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/coconut-oil/

    Moreover, many more robust and reliable scientific studies have shown that coconut oil is not heart-friendly while the few studies that claim the opposite are not scientifically robust.

    I hope you’ll find this interesting. Best,

    Hélène

    • Hi Helene!

      Yes, I’ve read that article actually. Thank you for sharing and I’ll change the text above!

      All the best,
      Sarah B

    • Hi Jessica,

      I suppose you could, but it wouldn’t taste the same, since the recipes calls for toasting the coconut first. Up to you, I guess 🙂

      Best,
      Sarah B

  • hello, does it matter if I use a food processor or a blender like Vitamix? I notice some chefs use food processors , just wondering if there is a different outcome between the 2.

    • You can use a Vitamix to do this, but you need to be very careful that you do not kill the motor trying to make any kind of nut butter. It tends to seize up and get the blade all gummy. If you have a food processor, that is a better choice for a recipe like this. If you want ground nuts, the Vitamix works as well as a food processor. Any time the nut butter consistency is desired, use the food processor!

    • HI Grace,

      Yup, I agree with Jennifer. You should definitely use a food processor for this, since it is designed for solids – not a Vitamix, which is designed for liquids. I hope you can make it!

      Best,
      Sarah B

  • This looks AMAZING Sarah – thank you — I am looking for something to up my breakfast situation and this looks like it could be it … do you think coconut oil and cane sugar would be appropriate substitutions for desiccated and sugar – neither easily available to me.
    Thanks!

    • Hello Claire,

      Glad you like the look of it! No, coconut oil would definitely not be appropriate as a substitution, since it doesn’t contain any coconut flesh – that’s what we’re after! And you could most certainly use cane sugar, just be aware that it will be higher on the glycemic index if that is a concern for you 🙂

      Good luck!
      Sarah B

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