And now, a treat: Chocolate nut butter
March 03, 2015
This is not a polemic, or an industry ponder. Instead, it is just a lovely thing. My friend Anno wanted this recipe and I cannot believe that no one has put it on t'internet, so I will do so now.
The recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book, "River Cottage: Light and Easy". We've bought a few of Hugh's books, including his polemic style tomes on meat and fish (don't look at me for the meat one). You can chart his age and changes by how his hair looks on the front pages. What I like about his style is that he de-clutters, and things do have a tendency to be non-fussy, but fresh and delicious. His veg only book I found (and I'm speaking as a vegetarian, here so I do eat a hell of a lot of vegetables) is the least used, potentially because in fact it relied upon milk, cheese and eggs a bit too much to do the hard work. "Light and Easy" meanwhile eschews most of those ingredients and it's bloody great. Lots of super-delicious tastes, and no wheat either. The soup section's a bit 'raw food' faddy but we've already tried a good few things out from other sections - my current favourite being roasted sprouts and Puy lentils. Fantastic. Oh, and the Italian gram flour pancakes! A revelation. So incredibly easy and delicious. And and and... many more. Buy it today!
So without further ado, and with no permission from River Cottage, but my fervent wish that everyone make this instead of buying that crap from the shops, even if Mel Geidroyc used to do the ads:
Chocolate Nut Butter: the recipe
You can get away with doing zero cooking for this.
- 100g blanched hazels or almonds, ready toasted if you like
- 50g runny honey (if you can buy a squeezy bottle, perfect)
- 25g odourless coconut oil (don't be freaked out if you've never used it, you can get this in supermarkets - looks a bit like white hydrogenated 'vegetable lard', but comes in a tub (and isn't hydrogenated)
- 1.5 tablespoons kick ass cocoa powder (I'll leave it up to you if you heap them)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of seasalt if you want
- 1.5 tablespoons water
If you haven't bought pre-roasted, take your blanched hazels and put them in a preheated oven to 180 degrees and toast lightly for 5-10 minutes and cool them completely. The heat affects the oils in them so better to not grind them up hot (I know this, they go all pasty and weird.
Hugh says whack it all in a food processor, and scrape it down the sides a bit so it all blends. I meanwhile only have a blender with a herb/coffee grinder attachment, so I measure all the ingredients together in a single bowl with the exception of the hazels, which I grind, then stir the whole thing together with gusto, using a teaspoon. Once it's come together, put it in a clean jamjar (with lid) and store it in the fridge. It'll keep for a week. There will be none left in a week. Make some for your office's kitchen and it will be gone in a day.
Note that in "Light and Easy" the recipe uses double these amounts exactly. However, if you're purchasing roasted hazels, they tend to come in handy 100g packs, and you also then don't feel slightly overwhelmed by having to eat the whole jar in a week. Half a jar seems much more civilised. Last week was the first time I had done this - ripped open a 100g roasted nut pack, got the other ingredients in a bowl, whizzed the nuts - I doubt if the whole thing took me more that 5 minutes. 5 minutes away from swooning. It is very strong chocolate-y and with a classic Italian toasty hazels smell - it's unsurprisingly pretty filling too, so does really well as an at least semi-healthy snack on some decent (sourdough, natch) bread. Seriously, I can't actually talk this up enough, it's bloody delicious.
The kids demand I make it weekly. I will comply (until I've shown them how to make it).