Go nuts: Make nut flour and butter for healthier holidays

Making peanut butter is boring. It takes way too long in my blender and it’s a mess to clean up. But it’s absolutely delicious! It’s hard not to enjoy a spoonful once your blender is done hating you.

Baking, on the other hand, is way more fun. I usually get flour and some syrupy mixture on the counter as I mix and stir, but cleaning up with a muffin or doughnut in hand isn’t that bad.

When I started my fitness journey a few years ago, I learned that processed, bleached white, all-purpose flour and bleached sugar aren’t the only baking necessities. Now, I almost always bake with oat or nut flour instead regular flour. The texture is thicker, but still delicious. I almost always sweeten my baked goods with maple syrup or raw, local honey instead of regular sugar.

These natural options help me pursue my health and fitness goals, unlike the Christmas sugar cookies I made last weekend. (They were worth it.) Oat and nut flour have more protein in them and fewer carbs. (Plus, they are or can be gluten-free.) The key here is more protein and fewer blood sugar crashes to help keep your body and mind working as it should.

If you’ve ever looked at almond flour, for example, at the grocery store, a small bag is expensive. Granted, it keeps well in the fridge for a long while and will bake at least a few dozen goodies, but I still can’t get over that sticker shock.

As for all-natural nut butters, AKA the ones that only have one ingredient (e.g. peanuts), in them, and no random sugars or preservatives in them… well, they’re more affordable than their respective flours, but have you ever bought cashew butter? I’m too cheap for that.

Naturally, I wanted to make my own nut flours and butters, but nuts themselves are expensive. How can we enjoy the health benefits of protein, good fats, and deliciousness without the high cost?

That’s where Christmas (and other December holidays) comes in.

Nuts are a great gift option, whether you’re giving or receiving. They’re healthy, pair well with other gift basket items, and are expensive enough as a solo gift.

Have you received nuts this holiday season? If so, grab your blender or food processor, and look up some Paleo recipes. (I’m not strictly Paleo, but most of the baked good recipes I find are Paleo because of the nut flours they use. Finding Paleo recipes saves me time on converting all-purpose flour to nut flour ratios.) Let’s make nut flour and butter!

Nut flour

Ingredients

  • Almonds, cashews, peanuts, or hazelnuts (the amount doesn’t matter)

Directions

  1. Grab your nuts and place about 1/2 cup at a time into your blender or food processor.
  2. Blend on medium. I chose the Chop function on my blender. You can also Pulse.
  3. If the nuts get stuck at the bottom of the blender, turn it off, pick it up, hold the top firmly in place, and shake it upside down. A food processor will require less shaking.
  4. Blend or pulse until nuts are primarily ground into small pieces about the size of crumbs. Pour into your measuring cup.
  5. Repeat until you have enough for your recipe or have used all of your nuts.
  6. If you want to, sift your nut flour before adding in your other baking ingredients. Nut flour is grainier than all-purpose flour (punny!), but it mixes and bakes well.
  7. Store any remaining nut flour in a bag or sealed container in the fridge for up to 9 months.

Note: You can also use seeds, such as flaxseeds or chia seeds, and coconut pulp (for coconut flour) to make healthier flours. As I mentioned before, you can also use Old Fashioned Oats to make oat flour.

Nut butter

Ingredients

  • Almonds, cashews, peanuts, or hazelnuts (the amount doesn’t matter)

Directions

  1. Make nut flour and grab a rubber spatula. I highly suggest you use one you won’t mind your blender eating a bit. I have one rubber spatula I use just for making nut flour and butter.
  2. Blend on high or Pulse. When your blender jams, stop it and scrape the sides. You can also pull the clear plastic “fill cap” off your blender top, stick your rubber spatula through the opening, cover the rest of the opening with your hand, and scrape as it runs.
  3. Blend until smooth. Depending on your blender strength, this might just take a few minutes or many minutes.
  4. Then blend for a few minutes if you like smooth nut butter. (Trust me. It makes a difference.)
  5. Enjoy! The blades from the blender warm up the nut butter, so it’s ready for toast.(Ezekiel bread toast, of course.)

What will you bake this holiday season?

 

 

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