We're going to try something new around here. I am starting a weekly series called: make ahead, which will include, you guessed it, recipes that you can make ahead of time and keep around for when you want a healthy homemade snack, a fabulous condiment, or accompaniment to a meal.
I'll keep it simple. Just posting the recipe, some notes, maybe some nutritional benefits, how long it will keep for, and what you can use it with.
Things that are homemade will always be better and more nurtrious than a store bought version.
I feel that the more you make ahead for yourself at home, the easier it is for you to whip up a completely homemade meal or a snack, and in turn, you end up eating better and healthier more often.
For the first recipe in the series I have real treat for you. Hazelnut butter.
I'm sure you've had peanut butter, you may even keep your fridge stocked with store bought almond butter. But, if you haven't started making your own nut butters yet, once you do, you'll never go back.
some things to know ...
Hazelnut butter is super easy to make as long as you have the right equipment, which would include a high-powered food processor, blender, or a vitamix along with a air-tight glass container.
Hazelnuts are incredibly good for you. They are a good source of protein, vitamins B, D, and K, loaded with nutrients, and a great source of healthy fats. They also hold incredible amount of flavor which is released when toasted. They're a little sweet, a little woody, and lot of wonderful.
Storage: It is best to store any nut butter in the refrigerator in an air-tight glass container. If stored properly, they should keep for at least 2 months, but as always use your best judgement.
Uses: Besides eating by the spoonful out of the jar, hazelnut butter goes great on fruits (apples, pears, bananas), vegetables (celery, carrots), spread over bread or crackers, or you can also get creative and use it a sauce (think Thai peanut type of sauce).
spiced hazelnut butter
Approximately 16 oz
2 cups of hazelnuts
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
a good sized pinch of black pepper
1/4 cup of grapeseed oil (or another neutral-tasting seed or nut oil)
- Start by toasting the hazelnuts. Preheat the oven to 350º. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 15 minutes, until they start to brown and the skins are starting to break off.
- When you take them out of the oven, carefully transfer them to a bowl lined with a paper towel and fold up the paper towel until they are completely covered. This will allow them to steam a little more making it easier for the skins to come off.
- After they have cooled for about 10 minutes, start to peel the skins off. This should be fairly easy to do at this point, they should just fall right off. Keep doing this until all of the skins have been removed. Do not worry if there are some bits of skin that won't come off.
- Place the toasted and skinned hazelnuts into a high-powered blender and pulse a few times.
- Add in the honey, cardamom, salt, cinnamon, and pepper and continue to blend.
- Then, as you're blending, slowly drizzle in the oil. Once all the oil is incorporated, you will have to keep on blending for another 5 to 10 minutes. The goal is to have no chunks remaining and have it be a super smooth consistency.
- Transfer to a glass container and store in the fridge until you are ready to use.