I am so grateful that I can still eat nuts. There are so many foods that I am not able to have anymore, and nuts allow me to create a lot of recipes that normally would be quite complicated, or not possible at all due to my allergies. For example, pecans make a wonderful crust for a pie. Cashews can be made into a ‘cashew cream’ which can be anything from a savory cream cheese-like food to a sweet cream filling in a dessert such as cheesecake. Of course, there are all the ice creams and milks that are made from nuts too. One of my favorite money saving recipes is to make my own nut butter at home. Pecan butter is fast, easy, and inexpensive compared to other nut butters. Sometimes I will use it as a regular, spreadable nut butter. Other times, I will use the pecan butter in a recipe like no bake ‘bars’, or as the binding agent in a rice crispy type treat. Once you know how to make the nut butter base, the sky’s the limit, my friends.
To make your own pecan butter, pour the bag of pecans into your food processor using the ‘S’ blade. Pulse several times until the nuts are crumbled down and look like dried bread crumbs. (FYI – if you stop here you can use the crumb mixture and a few other things to make an amazing crust in a pie, cheesecake, or other dessert). Okay, now add in your oil and salt and then turn on the food processor again. It will take about 1-3 minutes to go from dry crumbs to a creamy nut butter. It will go through a chunky phase, then a big ball phase, then finally it will start to cream at the bottom of your machine. Scrape down the sides as needed and once it is soft and creamy, scoop it out!
Once you have a homemade pecan butter, you can spread it onto apple slices, bread, crackers, etc and eat it as a very low carb but filling snack. Pecans have a naturally sweet taste to them (esp. if roasted) and it feels like you’re eating a sweeter dessert than you are. You can even add a spoonful of this nut butter to plain yogurt for a little extra something. FYI, protein in these nuts is low like the carbs/sugars. Now, if you want to be adventurous, you can take the pecan butter and use it to make rice crispy treats or raw desserts! You can press some pecan butter into muffin liners and pour melted dark chocolate on top – pop in the freezer for fast desserts or in the fridge for longer setting time. It is butter cup ‘esk’. The level of sweetness will depend on the chocolate you buy, so get one that you like and that meets your needs.
If you really want to ramp things up in the yummy dept, swap out pecans for cashews. Cashews are the dreamiest nut out there – rich, creamy, mild flavoring and can be whatever you want them to be! They can be made into cream cheese, ice cream, fake fudge, cheesecake filling, nut butter, and a bunch of other things! For a dessert, I usually make my own nut butter because they are expensive. I go to Trader Joe’s and get a 1 pound bag of plain raw organic cashews, pieces if available, (around $7.00) and this makes a few recipes. To make nut butter, do the same things as with the pecans, BUT it will take much longer to become a nut butter, so don’t worry. It is more like 8 minutes of blending instead of 2 minutes. You can add a tsp of maple syrup or agave to it for added sweetness, but it doesn’t need to be sweetened. I will give you some cashew recipes to try out soon!