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Feb 25, 2012 08:19 PM

Homemade nut butters ... [moved from Cookware board]

As some of you know, we eat a mostly paleo diet. Lately, we've been experimenting with paleo cookies and paleo chocolate cake. It's a true team effort. She does most of the baking and I get to test the results! Perfect synergy!

One of the key components in many of these things is almond butter. But this stuff isn't cheap. Yet ... raw almonds are super cheap. Usually $2.50 a pound at the Indian market. So I decided, ever the engineer, "gee how hard could making almond butter at home really be" ... ah ... the saga begins.

I'll skip all the details and drama and get right to the real crux of things. A food processor does a great job provided that you don't try and process too much at once. And ... the really critical bit - really sharp blades make a world of difference. Before I sharpened them up, I was able to make "almond butterish" stuff pretty readily. But it was pretty grainy and "smooth-ish" but not close to store bought stuff. But to make almond BUTTER - I needed to first sharpen the blades. Viola!

The result - completely smooth and creamy almond butter, walnut butter, whatever nut butter. The best thing is just to set it on low-medium and walk away for 10 min then see what it looks like. If you like you can add a bit of salt, cinnamon, honey, agave nectar, oil, whatever - but any liquid is best added toward slowly and later on - once it's is getting really underway.

It also helps to first roast the nuts a bit. Roasting first does impart a nutty flavor and reduces the overall time, but it isn't required.

Oh ... and once we get the recipe perfected ... I'll share our paleo chocolate cake recipe. It's already awesome, delicious and healthy - but we're trying to get it up to 30% protein.

Have fun!

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  1. Would you care to share any tips about sharpening food processor blades?

    6 Replies
    1. re: ecclescake

      Sure. Take a look at your blade attachment. If it is like mine, and I'm guessing that it is, it will be a single bevel design (one side is flat and the other side defines the edge. I suppose that there could be double-bevel designs but that doesn't really make a lot of sense for a food processor. Mine is a Braun by the way.

      Get out a few pieces of Sunday flyer, junk mail, whatever - to use for testing. As far as sharpening stones go, I use DMT diamond stones, and own a variety of their 1x4" stones that work with the aligner system. Now that I've used this system for quite a while my preference is really just to use the stone holder portion of the aligner and hand sharpen. I used only my 1200 grit x-fine stone (green) for this.

      Think of the blade attachment exactly the same way as a knife - except that it continuously curves around. So - first start with the flat side of the blade. Just give it a whole bunch of nice light strokes with the stone flat against the blade. In no time at all, you'll feel a burr along the entire curved edge. Perfect. For this stage, I usually prefer to rub the stone against the blade, not the other way around. Both are valid but I find it easier to do it my way with these smaller stones. If I had a 8" bench stone my opinion would probably be different.

      Now ... just move over to the other side and use about a 20 degree angle or so - you'll feel and hear when the angle is right. And again, just use some light movements of the stone against the blade. Light pressure is all that's needed. The most important thing is trying to keep your angle pretty consistent, which is a little tricky since the blade keeps curving. But I assure you that it's not hard and this was my first time doing it.

      Test out the blade on your paper. You may need to give it one more quick session of flat side then single bevel (I did). But after a total of 10 min, if that - I had a very sharp blade attachment.

      1. re: PepinRocks

        Thank you :)

        I still need to get the hang of sharpening ordinary knives, but once I've got that down pat I'll move on to my food processor blade! I'd never thought of sharpening a food processor blade before, but it makes so much sense.

        1. re: ecclescake

          You're welcome. Heck it never even occurred to me that they'd EVER need sharpening ... until I tried to make nut butter :-)

          1. re: PepinRocks

            I'm kind of afraid of burning up the motor on let it run for 15 minutes...??? I think I'd need a new fp and I really cannot afford is SO tempting, though, to make your own nut butters...the almond butters are so very 'spendy'!

            1. re: Val

              Hi Val,

              If you are using a SMALL amount of nuts - say 1 cup then the RESISTANCE is like nothing. You are correct that you could run a risk of burning it up if you use too much material.

              I have a Braun Food Processor and it has variable speeds: 16 settings. I pulse at 16 for 10 sec to break the nuts up - then process them into butter on 6 (pretty slow and a lot quieter). That's one reason I got this model, as most FP are On / Off / Pulse.

              Technically, you CAN use a lamp dimmer ($11 at the depot) to do the same with a standard food processor. BUT for this to be safe - the max amps of the food processor needs to be no more than 80% of the max amps of the dimmer.

    2. I'm really pleased to hear this as my nut butter attempts have all turned out grainy--fine for cookies anyway.

      I have an ancient 2 speed Braun FP that I Love love love!
      It's the biggest work horse in the kitchen. Gets used 6 to 8 times a week and it seems the bowl and blade is always in the dish washer.

      Now I'm excited about hazelnut butter that does NOT have chocolate in it. I love Nutella but I also love the unchocolate parts of the Nutella swirl.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Sparklebright

        I make homemade hazelnut butter in my small fp. Make sure you do toast them a decent amount, and add a tiny bit of salt as it brings out the sweetness. Better than what you can buy....

        1. re: hwertheim

          Thank you hwertheim
          I have seen several nut butters in the stores but never hazelnut unless it's Nutella
          Thia is going to be good!

        2. re: Sparklebright

          you should never put blades or cutting knives in the dishwasher. they get very dull very quickly.