• Nut butter from The Less Waste No Fuss Kitchen (Hardie Grant Books / Madeline Martinez )Source: Hardie Grant Books / Madeline Martinez

It’s really easy (and usually cheaper) to DIY. Ideally, you’ll need a food processor or high-power blender (one that’s suitable for grinding solids), but you can make nut or seed butter with a pestle and mortar: you’ll just need a bit more patience.

Makes
1 cup

Preparation

20min

Skill level

Easy
By
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Nut or seed butter is great slathered on fresh apple slices or banana for a snack. It also (to my surprise) tastes great with carrot sticks! Store-bought nut butter often has extras added: salt, sugar, vegetable oil and sometimes palm oil, but it's really easy to make your own. 

Almost every commercially available nut butter is made from roasted nuts – the flavour is infinitely better. Don’t even think about blending raw nuts or raw seeds unless you have a top-of-the-range high-power blender. (Cashews and macadamia are two exceptions.)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole nuts or seeds (see Note)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

If you are roasting your own nuts, allow another 15-20 minutes for cooking, and time for the roasted nuts to cool completely. 

1. If you are roasting your own nuts (see below), allow to cool completely before grinding.

2. Add nuts (or seeds) to the blender, and blend. First you’ll get coarse crumbs (if you like crunchy nut butter you can take some out of the blender now, and stir it back through at the end). Next come fine crumbs, then a mix that looks doughy, and eventually you’ll get smooth, shiny nut butter. When it’s glossy, you’re done. You can add salt and/or sugar to taste.

3. Pop into a glass jar. Nut butters store better in the fridge, but most can be kept in the pantry for up to three months.

Peanut butter - The classic nut butter, except peanuts are actually not nuts but legumes (related to pulses) that grow underground. Peanut butter is high in protein.

Almond butter - Make with roasted almonds, and leave the skins on (this is where all the calcium is). Almond butter makes a good peanut butter substitute.

Hazelnut butter - Roast hazelnuts then rub with a tea towel to remove the bitter skins before making into butter. Hazelnut butter is the base for chocolate hazelnut spread (the best way to eat it).

Sunflower seed butter - A mild-flavoured seed butter. A good budget option and an alternative for those with nut allergies. Blend with nuts (try 50:50) to make more affordable nut butters.

Pumpkin seed butter - Green in colour and more flavoursome than sunflower seed butter. Another nut-free option.

Sesame seed butter - Better known as tahini, a runny seed butter with a distinctive flavour. I use it to make a quick pasta sauce; also great added to smoothies and interesting to use in baking.

Cashew nut butter - One of the few nut butters that can be made with raw nuts as well as roasted. Mild, buttery and smooth (cashew nuts are naturally low in fibre), it is often used in icing for cakes and as a base for non-dairy creamy sauces. Keep in the fridge.

Macadamia nut butter - Another nut butter that tastes good made with raw nuts as well as roasted. Has a mild flavour and light texture: great on fruit toast and other baked goods in place of dairy butter. Always keep in the fridge.

Coconut butter - The most solid of the nut butters as the oil in coconut is solid at room temperature. Best made with desiccated or shredded coconut, it takes much longer to blend than other nut butters (you’ll need a top-of-the-range blender). Great in raw cakes and bliss balls as it binds ingredients together well.

 

Note

• You can buy roasted nuts (try to find the ones without salt), or you can roast your own: just spread out on a large baking tray and place in the oven on a low–medium heat. I roast nuts at 150 °C (300 °F) for around  15–20 minutes, opening the oven every 5 minutes or so to give them a shake and check on their progress. The aim is lightly coloured and golden, not dark brown or black. They should smell and taste nutty and aromatic – not burned. Softer nuts like pecans take less time and burn more easily. Better to keep the oven temperature low and roast a little longer than scorch them. Once roasted, allow nuts to cool completely before making butter.