Chai Nut (Tea) Butter

by Sarah on May 12, 2011 · 16 comments

What’s a girl to do once she’s made soft and springy* Chai-Spiced Sponge Cake and crunchy delicious “almost-famous”^ Chai Granola?
*In texture and season?
^Kath blogged about it once. It was the closest I’ve ever come to blog-famy.

Well, if you happen to cook in The Smart Kitchen, and believe, like I do, that there is not a flavor of nut butter that cannot be created….naturally, you made Chai Nut (Tea) Butter![Editor’s Note: You would not believe how long it took me to think about this recipe name/post title. I went through Chai (Nut) Tea Butter, Chai Nut-tea Butter…even China Tea Butter…just to get it right. (OK, not really on that last one.) I just wanted to associate it with my patented and trademarked* Nutty Butter brand…why is that so hard?]
*Not yet. But someday?For this (insanely good) recipe, I decided to go with almonds as my nut choice, as they–for whatever reason–seem to be a perfect pair with chai. However, I also wanted to add another nut to help smooth out the butter, and so I chose cashews for its fattiness (easy breakdown in the processor) but mild, subtly sweet flavor (as opposed to the often-dominant peanut).I’ve made this twice now, once with slightly more almonds and once with equal parts almonds and cashews. I recommend the second way, not only because I support equal rights for nuts, but also because the cashews turn to butter so much more easily and it requires less patience overall.

Feel free to do as you wish.

Process the nuts until they resemble coarse bread or graham cracker crumbs.Next, retrieve The Smart Kitchen “Chai Spice Collection”*: cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. [Oh, and a pinch of salt.]
*Soon to be packaged and sold at a Whole Foods near you!^
^OK. That was a lie.

[A quick word about cardamom. It is the crochety old woman at the party who, like cardamom, is gray (haired) and feisty…making her presence known! You have to be careful when adding it to the mix, because it can quickly take over. I happen to love it, so the balance I’ve created is just fine, but you might want to start with a little less at first to make sure it tempts your tastebuds.]
Then, it was time for the nut butter magic to happen…
…first entering the “let’s fluff up so much that it incites fear throughout the kitchen of overflow and nut loss” phase of production.
This is followed by the “can’t we all just get along?,” sticking-together-for-the-first-time stage.
Now, I’ve told y’all a million times before, and I will tell you again: WALK AWAY. Seriously, just walk away and let the processor do it’s thing for a good 10-15 minutes. You must be patient and ignore your “I’m pretty sure the food processor is going to explode and there is now steam rising up from the chute” thoughts. If you don’t you’ll never end up with creamy, gooey, butter.

And that is what we all want, isn’t it?Just “chai” and resist it.
Chai Nut (Tea) Butter

1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted almonds
1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted cashews
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
[If you are not a fan of super-spiced baked goods, you might want to start with half the suggested amounts and add more to the final butter if you like.]

1. Process nuts in a food processor until they resemble coarse bread or graham cracker crumbs.
2. Add spices and process (patiently!) until a smooth, nut butter consistency.

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Y’all know that my normal method for eating nut butter is straight from jar to mouth, and that it rarely ends up in or on anything (aside from the spoon or chopstick I used to get it to my tongue).However, one thing this nut butter pairs VERY well with is bananas. And coconut. So I have a great plan for combining the two (or is that three?).First, slice a banana lengthwise…and try not to gawk and how weird bananas look on the inside.
Seriously. Weird. [Maybe that’s just me? Can’t you envision little ants marching two by two (hurrah! hurrah!) down the middle?]
Slather on as much nut butter as you wish.
Turn your banana into a coco-nut butter-fly!
Smoosh it all together…

A Happy, Smiling Nut Butter Banana!

Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and pop him in the freezer. [Be thankful your roommates are used to stumbling upon strange-looking food experiments every time they open the fridge.]
Now, you can take it out 30-40 minutes later and just have a nice, cold treat. OR you can leave it in until it’s completely frozen and have yourself a nut butter Banana Pop!
Granted, you might not want to eat this in public as I think it was Eden who recently pointed out how awkward eating bananas is when they aren’t frozen…and trust me, eating one like a popsicle does NOT help with that situation. You can always just slice the bad boy into tiny, melt-in-your-mouth Nanner Nuggets* instead.
*Normally, I am opposed to the term “nanner” but I will do anything for alliteration.

I mean, only if you want to keep everything PG.
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