Roasted Maple Butter Pecans

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Roasted nuts are powerful and simple all in one bite. I sprinkle mine in salads with a nice vinaigrette or I just eat them by the handful at an alarming rate.

Two things here. Well, three. One, you can use whatever kind of nuts you want in the recipe. Two, remind yourself when you’re taste testing them that the nuts will be chewy when really hot. As they cool, they’ll become crunchy again.

…and three, it’s really hard to talk about nuts like this without laughing like I’m 12 years old again.

Roasted Nuts:

2 egg yolks

1/4 c. melted unsalted butter

3 T. pure maple syrup

1/4 c. caster sugar

1 t. salt

18 oz. raw pecans

250 F / 120 C

-Beat the egg whites on high in a bowl until frothy and white (about 20 seconds).

-Add melted butter and continue to beat. Then add maple syrup, sugar and salt. Beat until fully combined.

– Add the pecans to the mixture and fold them into the egg mixture with a spatula until they’re fully coated and there is no puddle of unused mixture sitting at the bottom of the bowl.

-Bake in 4 15-minute increments, stirring each time until the egg white mixture has hardened over the nuts entirely.  They’ll also be fragrant and be giving off a crackling sound.

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Coconut Butter

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This one is plain and simple, and I love it. Like, love love it. I wanna marry it. If you buy this stuff in the stores you end up paying a hefty price for a 15-ounce jar. Something like $13! If you’re Midwestern like me, you might have a Meijer, and they sell their True Goodness Brand unsweetened organic shredded coconut for $2.39/bag. If you do the math, about 1 full bag makes 15 oz. of butter, which means you save over $10 a jar! Say what?!

Some people may not be familiar with coconut butter, but that ends right here, people. It’s relatively the same process that peanuts take to become peanut butter. Basically, you just grind the crap out of unsweetened coconut flakes until you can grind no more.

I eat it on bananas, in oatmeal, on toast, by the spoonful, with mangos, on crackers, with chocolate bars, on cake…you get the point.

The only note of caution is that coconut butter behaves much like coconut oil does (not to mention there’s a small amount of that in there too). The cooler the temperature it is, the harder it gets. So, if you live in a cold climate or intend to keep it in the refrigerator, plan on letting it sit in a bowl of hot water to let the oils soften a bit until it’s spreadable again.

I’ve not yet tried it, but adding melted chocolate to the mixture could be a genius idea. You can also do this with toasted coconut, but expect your butter to have a crunchier texture.

If you’ve been living under a rock during the past 5 years, you just need to do a quick google search session to know that coconut is a superfood in all forms as long as it stays in its natural state (sans sugar and additives). So, if you can get it in, and I know you can, do it!

COCONUT BUTTER:

2 c. coconut pulp, unsweetened

1 pinch of salt

1 heaping T. coconut oil

  1. In a good quality food processor, grind coconut pulp and oil for 10-15 minutes. It will go crumbly, to looking like paste and then to a smooth and buttery texture, which is what you want.
  2. Just when you think it won’t work, it will meld into butter. The heat from the machine might make it look like a liquid, but don’t worry. Once the temperature of the butter drops, it will come to.
  3. Add a pinch of salt, pulse the machine once more to mix it in, and voila!
  4. Store in a tub, preferably at room temperature or hotter.

Maple Pecan Butter Turtles w/ Homemade Nut Butter

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Cancel your plans, call in sick, pray to the snow day gods, do whatever you have to do to stay home today and make these. They’re some seriously badass chocolates.

I had leftover pecans yesterday and decided to blitz up some butter from them. Then it occurred to me. I have never seen pecan butter sitting on the shelves with it’s older, more established nut brothers. I’ve seen it online and in gourmet food stores before but never have I seen it in an ordinary grocery store where most of us shop. What the heck?

A good raw/organic nut butter with no sugar or other preservatives added is worth the extra couple of bucks. Jif isn’t gonna cut it, folks. I remember when Justin’s nut butter showed up in the local grocery store here. I threw a small personal party in aisle 9 out of sheer joy that some real quality nut butter had been conveniently added to my life. Wahoo! Just to get you my level, Justin’s is an impressive company that was just a little Colorado startup not too long ago. Check them out here if you’ve never heard of them. Justin’s is doing great things with sustainable initiatives and a real team oriented business model. It’s the kind of company you want to contribute to. If none of that matters to you, just buy it based on how genius the packaging is. It is sheer simplicity in a world of clutter.

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Anyway, the pecan butter. Making nut butter is easy if you have a higher powered food processor. You simply throw nuts in, add flavor if you want and process until the oils release from the nuts and form a smooth creamy butter. Voila!

After all this you’re probably thinking, this better be good. Well, it is. Damn good. Then you add chocolate to it and holy crap. Just one bite and you’ll be high on happiness. I promise. If you’re not, contact me so that I can forward the number of a support group to you that helps people rebuild their empty souls. Kidding. Kind of…

VANILLA MAPLE PECAN BUTTER:

2 c. toasted raw organic pecans (toasted optional)

1 t. organic vanilla paste or extract

1 T. pure organic maple syrup

1/2 t. ground organic cinnamon

sea salt to taste

  1. (optional step) Toast the pecans on a baking sheet in the oven at 350° F /  180° C for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. In a food processor, add all of the ingredients. Process on high for 2-4 minutes depending on the power of your machine. You want it to be smooth and spreadable. Before it reaches this point it might form into a ‘doughy’ ball but will loosen up as the oils continue to release from the pecans.
  3. Salt to taste and store in airtight container.

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VANILLA MAPLE PECAN BUTTER CUPS:

1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 – 1/2 c. vanilla maple pecan butter

sea salt

  1. Over a double boiler melt the chocolate.
  2. On a piece of wax paper, make teaspoon-size circles and spread them out slightly. Place a small dollop of pecan butter on top and top with more chocolate. Sprinkle top with sea salt.
  3. Let the chocolate set at room temperature.