One of the staples of my diet always seems to be nut butter, no matter my level of training, time to spend in the kitchen, or occupation. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches in elementary school turned into peanut butter and banana by high school. By college I got more creative with lots of almond butter-banana concoctions (see my banana post). While rowing, I once again relied on almond butter and banana sandwiches. Now, even with more time to cook, I eat almond/nut butter at least once a day—in a smoothie or oatmeal or on fruit, crackers, or bread. With this recipe, I will now be eating it with a spoon.
Nut butters are super easy to make, both in terms of time and ingredients. All you really need is a good blender or food processor and whatever nuts you want. Because I was taking the time to make it, I decided to make mine a little fancier than just almond butter. Introducing, Vanilla Bean Cinnamon Almond Butter.
Part of what makes this recipe so good is that I used an actual vanilla bean instead of just vanilla extract. It was my first time using the bean, but it was very easy. Simply cut the bean in half lengthwise and then scoop out the black seeds with the back of your knife and add them to the almonds.
2 cups roasted unsalted almonds
1 vanilla bean, seeds scooped out
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp salt (optional—mine was unsalted)
Add the ingredients to a food processor and blend on medium-high speed. I blended the almonds for a few minutes, then removed part of the mixture to make things a little easier for my blender. I slowly added it back in as the mixture got smoother. Blend for 5-10 minutes depending on your desired consistency. I like crunchy almond butter so I didn’t make mine completely smooth.
There are so many more possibilities for nut/seed butters. The farmers’ market that I went to in California had a nut butter stand that I always visited for samples. They added things like dates, vanilla, freeze dried berries, and coconut to their butters. Other ideas include mocha, pecan pie (pecans + nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice), maybe a chai flavor… Here is a partial list of ideas:
Nuts/seeds: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hazelnuts (homemade nutella!). Feel free to mix different nuts together
Sweeteners: vanilla, honey, maple syrup, coconut, cocoa powder, brown sugar, caramel (this list gets decreasingly healthy…)
Other additions: dates, dried fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cardamom, cumin, instant coffee powder, etc