Winter Snowflake Nutty Butter

by Sarah on December 16, 2011 · 17 comments

What does one do when faced with empty jars?*
*Aside from eat out of them, obviously.
Fill ’em up, of course!

[The astute among you will note that one of the jars above has changed, as in a Highlights–or, oddly, People Magazine–“Can you spot the difference?” game. We’ll discuss what happened to the other jar later. In fact, we’ll discuss two out of three later. For now, let’s focus on one.]

And when you’ve been collecting assorted nuts that didn’t quite make it into the amount required for a recipe, well, there’s really only one thing to make:

Nutty Butter!

For the uninitiated, Nutty Butter^ is my term for “mixed nut butter” a la Nuttzo. Same idea, but for a fraction of the price.
^And yes, I am considering saying ‘T.M.’ after the phrase like Phil does throughout the ‘Express Christmas’ Modern Family episode.

Although at one time, I crafted the perfect proportion of each nut and seed in the mix, I will also happily settle for just using up odds and ends of nuts that I can scavenge from around the house.
This might mean grabbing 1/4 cup from each of Papa Smart’s nearly-empty nut cans, and a 1/3 cup from the random bag of bulk bin hazelnuts I found in a food box packed in the car from my move.
I also thanked my lucky stars for my October Foodie Pen Pal, Jordan, who gave me a bag of roasted North Carolina peanuts, which I saved and were now functioning as a perfect addition to my nuttiness.

As long as you have between 2 1/2 and 3 cups of nuts, you should be good to go.
And then the processing begins.I’ve said it five hundred times, and I will say it five hundred times more:*
*If The Proclaimers can walk it, I can talk it.^
^Horrible grammar, but please just go with it.
The key, my little chickadees, to making your own Nutty Butter (TM) is patience.
Just let the processor do its thing. Walk away. Grab a cup of coffee.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can think about what flavor you might want to make your Nutty Butter (TM). In this case, I was inspired by a cookie mix I had seen while working at Central Market. These “Winter Snowflake” cookies featured white chocolate and cinnamon chips.

I, however, think coconut looks a lot more like snow.

I also added vanilla for kicks. If your nuts were unsalted, you might need a dash of that to further enhance the taste. I thought about adding some cloves and nutmeg…but I figured I’d show some (uncharacteristic) restraint.
I did, however, decide to make the ‘snow’ visible in the final product, so I added a final tablespoon or so after I had adjusted the cinnamon to perfection. Pulsing the processor just once or twice let the coconut mix in without turning into butter.

And then, the filling of the jar!*

*It’s truly a grand event in The Legend of the Nutty Butter (TM).It’s also a bit of a mess. But just like a slightly disastrous classroom indicates work being done, a slightly disastrous kitchen shows signs of great achievement. (And a little bit of fun, too?)Don’t forget to leave some in the bottom of the processor bowl for scraping directly onto your tongue.
But take caution with the blade. I’ve cut many a spatula on sharp edges. [And I’m not saying I’ve cut my tongue…but I’m also not going to deny that all that Nutty Butter in all those crevices can be very tempting…]

The whole “making cute labels” step is totally optional.
Winter Snowflake” Nutty Butter
(When it’s not winter, we can call it “Cinnamon Coco-Nutty Butter”)

2 1/2 cups mixed roasted nuts [peanuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts…]
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon (plus more to taste)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. flaked coconut, separated

1. Put nuts into food processor and process until smooth and nut butter-y. [This will take awhile. Be patient. Drink some coffee.]
2. Add cinnamon, vanilla, and 1 1/2 Tbsp. coconut. Process until smooth.
3. Add remaining coconut and pulse two or three times, just until coconut is mixed in.

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