Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Almond-Walnut Butter

I've been buying almond butter at Trader Joe's for years since it's a staple in my picky son Jack's diet - and by staple I mean he eats it every day.  I usually have a pretty impressive stash of it in my pantry but for some reason Trader Joe's has been out of it for a while.  At first I panicked because almond butter is fairly pricey at most grocery stores compared to Trader Joe's.  However, the situation, and I'm sure you can see where this is going, forced me to make my own, and made me realize I should have been doing this years ago!  It's super easy and delicious.  If Jack eats it - not even noticing that anything has changed - I know it's good. 

He will eat peanut butter but since he eats it every day I wanted him to have  a variety, and it has more health benefits than peanut butter.  Almond butter has less saturated fat, eight times as much calcium, four times the amount of Vitamin E and twice the amount of iron than peanut butter.  Also, almonds are a powerful anti-oxidant and have anti-inflammatory properties. So almond butter is the clear winner here - especially for my son who eats a limited variety of foods.

I make this easy almond butter recipe almost once a week as Jack and I go through it pretty fast.  On my second batch, I thought I'd add some walnuts to pump up the healthy omega-3 fatty acids and as it turns out it's a great combination.  Next, I may try adding some sunflower seeds or ground flax seeds - any kind of nut or seed should work.


Almond-Walnut Butter
1 lb raw, unsalted almonds
1 cup raw, unsalted walnut halves or pieces
2 teaspoons grape seed oil
coarse ground sea salt - to taste

1.)  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and spread almonds and walnuts out on an un-greased cookie or baking sheet and season with sea salt
2.)  Toast nuts in oven for 7-9 minutes - just until you can smell them, make sure they don't burn and let them cool for about 10 minutes.  You may want to add more sea salt at this point depending on your taste.

3.) When cool, add to food processor and pulse for a few minutes while stopping to scrape down the sides.  Mixture should be a coarse grain at this point. 
4.)  Add 2 teaspoons of the oil and pulse again for a few minutes until the nuts release their oils and a paste forms.  Keep on pulse until the level of consistency you desire is achieved.

5.)  Store in air-tight glass jars in refrigerator.


"The Greatest Wealth is Health" - Roman Poet Virgil

"Let Food be thy Medicine and Medicine be thy Food." - Hippocrates

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