Oh, nut butter. What kind of place would this world be without it? Creamy, dreamy, salty, smooth. And, as I’m quickly finding out, super easy to make yourself. Honestly, the hardest part of making it is washing the food processor afterward.
To make a delicious nut butter, start with raw nuts and roast them on a cookie sheet in a single layer in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. (Or, for those wanting to skip a step or without a bulk foods store, just buy plain roasted nuts.) place the nuts into the bowl of a food processor and add a big pinch of sea salt.
Now here’s the tricky part – turn the food processor on and just wait. The nuts will go from a light powder to a wet sand consistency to a clumpy ball and then finally into a smooth, creamy butter, but this will take 8-15 minutes depending on what kind of nut you use. Check out the pictures at Rawmazing to see what to look for.
If you want your butter sweetened, mix in maple syrup, honey, or other sweetener, but do so by hand. Adding it to the food processor will cause the butter to seize. While still tasty, the texture will be grittier.
That’s it! Simple, huh? Grab some nuts, dig out your food processor, and go to town!
This is not a low calorie recipe. I repeat: This is not a low calorie recipe. Just thought I’d warn you, because once you try these you are going to want to devour the entire pan in one sitting. So be forewarned, internet friends, and get your willpower all straightened out before you head into the kitchen to make these little goodies.
Grain-Free Fruit and Nut Bars
Adapted from this recipe at JoyfulAbode
1 cup dried fruit (I used a combination of figs and papaya)
2.5 cups Mixed Nuts, divided
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
½ tbsp flax seed
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Roughly chop the dried fruit, making the pieces roughly the size of a raisin, and place in a large bowl. Roughly chop 1 cup of mixed nuts and place in the bowl. Add the remaining 1.5 cups of nuts to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the processed nuts to the bowl along with the coconut and flax. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium low heat, stir together the coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. You want a whole lot of cinnamon here. Flip your shaker bottle over, squeeze it a few times, then squeeze it a few times more. A small cinnamon dust cloud may or may not make its way into your lungs.
- Heat the honey mixture, stirring continuously, until it begins to bubble. Stop stirring and allow the mixture to bubble 45 seconds. Pour the heated mixture over your nut mixture and stir to combine.
- Firmly press the mixture into a parchment lined baking dish and allow to cool several hours before cutting into individual bars.
When I say *firmly press* I mean it – you’ve got to be tough with these because you want gravity and compression to work on your side to hold them together. After I got them all pressed into the dish, I covered the top with more parchment, covered the surface with two stacks of books, and topped all that off with my beloved 25 pound kettlebell. They held together pretty well, but a bit crumbly. Next time I might throw them in a low temperature oven or my food dehydrator to dry them out a bit after I’ve cut them.
If you like nuts, you’ll love these. If you like things that are wonderfully mild in sweetness, you’ll love these. Honey, nuts, and fruit just go together oh so nicely, don’t you think? Wrapped in plastic wrap, these make a great snack on the go – perfect for a long bike ride or to keep in your gym bag for whenever you need a boost. Are these high in calories? Yes. Could I have cut them a little smaller? Sure. But the bulk of the calories comes from the nuts and coconut oil, both high calorie and high fat things that are pretty good for you. Enjoy them!
Makes 12 bars. Per bar: 334 cal, 24 g fat, 24 g carbs, 6 g protein
*The actual calories in 2.5 cups of nuts can vary depending on what type of nut. Bigger nuts (like the burly Brazil nut) will obviously take up more room per ounce than the petite hazelnut. These numbers were calculated using 9 oz of mixed nuts, because that’s what 2.5 cups weighed out to for me. If you care about counting calories, don’t guess on calorie dense foods like nuts – show your food scale some love.