If I had one last meal on earth, it's safe to say it would be some sort of peanut butter & banana concoction. PB+B has been my go-to breakfast and favorite meal since college, but as of the last few years I've been dabbling in different combinations of nut butters with fruit.
My interest as of recently has been for cashew butter actually, though I didn't have it often as it was always quite pricey at the health foods store or difficult to get my hands on one at Trader Joe's (side note: so excited to not have to wait in ridiculous grocery lines any longer!)
I am also thrilled to say that I finally cracked and made the investment in getting myself a Vitamix blender (eek!); it literally has been a dream of mine to have one since I got into nutrition back in college. The second I put that baby on our kitchen counter I was like a kid in a candy store. Drooling. I know, I sound like a total nutrition nerd but I will fully own that name tag because I love this stuff. One of my first to-do's after opening was to finally have the chance to make my own creamy nut butter and not have to worry about an annoying price tag or ingredients I prefer not to eat.
After a few tweaks, I was able to get a consistency that was pretty darn smooth, though I believe next time I can adjust things a bit more and get an even creamier nut butter. Trial and error, folks!
Some things I do want to mention as I feel they will be helpful if you guys take on this recipe--
- high speed blenders (such as the Vitamix or Blendtec) or food processors are only recommended if you want to get a super creamy texture like the kind you buy at the grocery store. Other commercial blenders will not have the horsepower to blend the nuts to that type of desired consistency. I know this from experience (I used to have a Ninja and it never came out as smooth as I wanted).
- roasting your nuts before popping them into your blender will release the oil from the nuts, making it much easier to blend. Just be sure to allow the nuts to cool before blending.
- do not add water to thin it out. Water and oil separate, so you will get an even clumpier batter.
- do add oil if the mixture is too thick. Coconut oil will add a subtle coconut flavor; others such as flax or safflower will have no taste variation.
- wider rimmed containers will need a larger batch of nuts, and vice versa (more surface area allows for more room to make air pockets where the blades are). Tip: for a 32 oz container, go for 3-3.5 cups of nuts. For 48-64 oz container, go for 3.5-4 cups of nuts.
- cleaning the container can be a pain, I admit. Try to scoop out as much as you can, then perhaps make a smoothie or shake with the remaining nut butter at the bottom of the blades! After that, you can soak your container in hot water and soap to get the rest out.
- get savvy and add some superfoods/herbs to the mix! Nut butters are the perfect vehicle to drive in additional nutrition from things like maca, chia seeds, ashwaghanda, etc.
Coconut Maca Cashew Butter
3-4 C. raw cashews (amount will vary slightly based on your blender; I used 3 cups in this recipe)
2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp maca powder (optional)
1/2 tsp pink himalayan sea salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place nuts on a cookie sheet and roast until nuts are nice and golden. This can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes; be sure to always keep an eye out as they can burn super quick! Once nuts are done, allow to cool for around 15 minutes.
Place all ingredients into blender, and gradually pace the blender to its highest speed. For those with a Vitamix, use your tamper to continuously push the batter down along the sides of the container. You may need to stop the blender a few times to really push everything down. Continue this until you've reached your desired consistency.
*Like I mentioned, next time I will modify the portions a bit (use more nuts since I have a 64 oz container) which may alter the flavor slightly. Go with your gut and use portions of the ingredients listed above that you are comfortable with.