Going Nuts for Flavored Nut Butters


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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Every day in elementary school, my mom packed my sister and me the same lunch: PBJ (always with natural peanut butter and Gramma's homemade jams on wheat bread), a pouch of real juice, a piece of fruit or some carrot sticks, and a granola bar or a fruit roll-up. I never tired of it, but around age 7, I did decide that I needed to be independent. I wanted whatever my sister didn't have. I announced to my mother, as she handed me my lunch, that I no longer ate grape jelly. I would henceforth require only strawberry jam on my sandwiches, please and thank you, mother. My sister could keep the grape jam, and strawberry would be mine and mine alone, (I embellish the dialogue only slightly. Ever the precocious child, I was a cross between Eloise and Fancy Nancy. I almost flunked gym class in first grade because I refused to wear sneakers, and I took pride in telling people I never wore pants the entire year of kindergarten. I digress…)

Suddenly, my boring old sandwich was new again. Strawberry jam was so much better than icky grape, and 22 years later, I don't think I've eaten grape jelly since then.

In junior high, my beloved PBJ fell out of favor when I decided that skipping lunch was the cool thing to do. (All those raging teenage hormones, plus low blood sugar, equaled one cranky Stepfanie. Not my smartest move.)

Then came college and my first apartment. I was strapped for cash and time. A PBJ was a quick dinner, so I thought. Later that night, I was sick, bent over with horrible stomach pains. I blamed stress. Eventually, a doctor diagnosed me with a peanut intolerance (so thankfully no life-threatening symptoms), and, separately, a cashew allergy.

In addition to losing my PBJs, I could no longer eat mixed nuts, pad Thai, several kinds of curries, and the world's best flavor combination: chocolate and peanut butter. (Now if only we could get airplanes to stop serving peanuts. I always end up with a migraine after flights when they serve peanuts.)

Then along came a nut (a drupe, really) that made me forget peanut butter ever existed. The almond.

Why am I sharing this story with you today? I'm sharing this story because almond butter is expensive, and fancy nut butters are all the rage. And I have the recipes to prove it.

As a frugal gal as well as a healthy one, I took it upon myself to learn to make my own almond butter. Not only can I be certain I won't end up with hives after eating it, but I'm also saving plenty of money in the process. I share the simple directions in this post.

Once you have the basics of homemade nut butters

down pat, venture into tastier territory. My favorites: roasted almonds and raw pecans, raw walnuts, or sunflower seeds. For some recent birthdays, I gifted dark chocolate almond butter (1 pound almonds, roasted at 325 degrees for a few minutes until just fragrant, then tossed in the food processor with dark cocoa powder and raw sugar to taste).

These are some of my other favorite nut butter recipes:

Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter

Raw Almond Pumpkin Seed Butter

Low-Cal Peanut Butters

Pumpkin* Spice Almond Butter (my favorite) and so many more

(Read these articles for more info on incorporating seeds and nuts into a healthy diet.)

What is your favorite kind of nut butter? Have you ever tried to make your own?

*While we're talking about pumpkins, I have to mention that this year I've sworn off pumpkin spice lattes for plain coffee with a squirt of (usually) homemade pumpkin syrup. It took me awhile, but even occasionally spending almost $5 for a coffee seems absurd! If you're a latte addict, you must try this instead!

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    Love almond butter - 4/21/2013   12:14:01 AM
    I get free pecans from my sister's tree. I toast them up and puree them into pecan butter, no extra ingredients needed! I'm certain that I could make almond or peanut butter, too. Who needs that high trans fat chemically peanut butter? - 12/7/2010   12:55:46 AM
    I'm so glad I finally stopped to read this article. I put peanut butter on lots of stuff to help get in more protein and healthy fats. Oh yeah, and I love peanut butter. It can get boring something though. I'm definitely going to try some of these recipes. - 11/3/2010   1:46:55 PM
  • 58
    You did it--a convert. I went to the organic shop, bought almond butter and put it on a Wasa cracker--heaven. I'll never go back, only forward into uncharted nut butter territory. - 10/26/2010   4:12:47 AM
    I'm sorry that your intolerance-not-quite-allergy robbed you of a favorite food, but good for you for figuring out new options. I discovered that I was allergic to avocado when I tried to incorporate it into my diet because of the health benefits.

    I can't eat almonds - no allergy, but they give me major gas! [sorry, TMI?] I do adore cashews and pecans (my dad grows his own and ships us some every year). In the 'nut' butter arena, my favorite is sunflower seed butter! - 10/24/2010   10:24:51 PM
  • JEAN4U2
    I also love peanut butter, but hate the fat grams--although there are pretty good for you. And since I don't like the white powdery stuff you can buy, and I prefer the roasted flavor. I have come up with a great way to "have you peanut butter and eat it too!" Sooo, here's my secret weapon! I buy a large jar of Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter, and make sure that I get the jar with the MOST oil on the top (it does float up there and the longer it has been on the store shelf--the more oil there is on top). I carefully bring it home and pour off ALL the oil. I then pack the space with scrunched up paper towels and then put the lid back on. I check the paper towels daily and change them when they become oily. It will take several days to get most of the oil out, and the longer you continue to absorb the oil, the dryer the peanut butter gets. I usually have 2 jars on hand. One that has been "processed" and another "processing." I use mine to make smoothies! If you want to spread it onto something... just stop at the creamy point that you want to use it. I love for mine to get POWDERY! That takes a while. I promise you--you'll love this method once you get into it. - 10/23/2010   2:47:40 PM
  • 55
    Went back and read more at the PB link....so good to know Trader Joe's carries peanut flour that mixes into PB, the reviews were great on it. One gal adds it to waffles and says it tastes like peanut butter cookies on crack, lol..... I just may have to give this a try. :) - 10/22/2010   3:58:03 PM
  • 54
    Peanut butter is my fav. I checked out the site for the powdered one. I must confess it would take me awhile to "wrap my head" around that one. Great and interesting blog, thanks. - 10/22/2010   3:44:28 PM
  • 53
    I eat almond butter with no salt added. I like it a lot better than peanut butter. I have never tried to make my own. I will try it and see if it is worth the effort. - 10/22/2010   9:22:52 AM
  • 52
    Yum!! I can't wait to try some of these! - 10/21/2010   7:00:02 PM
  • 51
    Love almond & cashew butter. Never thought about making my own... can't wait to try! - 10/21/2010   5:20:48 PM
  • 50
    Thanks for the recipes. I will try the almond recipes and can't wait to try some of the others like cashew and walnut. I love peanut butter anyway. I already add cinnamon to regular peanut butter and it's great. The many ideas...lol. - 10/21/2010   4:07:55 PM
    Thanks for the ideas. Have to try. - 10/21/2010   1:49:59 PM
    i am allergic to nuts - 10/21/2010   1:14:30 PM
    @FIRESTARINFINI: I know alot of people who love Nutella but a word of advice... If you look at the ingredients list you will see that Nutella uses hydrogenated oils which means... you guessed it, TRANS FAT!!! Not sure if this concerns you but it is the reason why I never buy it myself.

    Stepfanie: Thank you so much for this blog... my fiancé just informed me he found a great deal on a food processor at work and is planning on getting it for me tomorrow so this blog came at just the right time! By the way... Thanks for the links to the other great blogs. I love blogs! Especially ones with great recipes! I just started a blog of my own and I am so happy I did... It is still pretty new but I hope someday to have something like the blogs that you linked to here..

    P.S. A link to my blog is on my sparkpage blog! - 10/21/2010   10:33:27 AM
    Thanks for the good ideas. I have been reading about nut butters for awhile and being a big peanut butter fan was curious about the taste. Will look in Wal-Mart for the single serve size to test it out. - 10/21/2010   10:28:20 AM
  • 45
    I am definitely a fan of nut butters. I've made almond, cashew, walnut, and various mixed butters, but I've never tried something as exciting as Pumpkin Spiced Almond Butter. It sounds like the perfect fall topper for apples! - 10/21/2010   1:05:27 AM
    I love nut butters, The wal-mart by my house actually sells organic 1 service pouches of Justins' organic nut butters. They have all kinds and they are so good for under a dollar a peice. I don't usually eat any type of nut butter so the individual services are perfect and convienient to take with me on the road. - 10/21/2010   12:25:47 AM
  • 43
    Never knew there was such a thing- at least not in the supermarkets. I do love almonds though (even though I have no nut allergies). - 10/20/2010   9:02:49 PM
  • 42
    Stepfanie: Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I would love to try making my own nut butters. And I had NO IDEA that Trader Joe's flour can be mixed with water and turned into peanut butter. I saw the flour recently at TJ's and wondered what I would use it for. Now I must buy some. - 10/20/2010   8:48:08 PM
  • 41
    Not into them. Like to "chew" nuts, so I'll stay with the fresh ones. PeanutButter is still good. - 10/20/2010   6:16:23 PM
  • 40
    I loved your childhood story. ;) How funny!

    I haven't tried making my own nut butters, but it sounds like a very cost effective (and tasty!) way to enjoy them. - 10/20/2010   4:39:58 PM
  • 39
    THANK YOU!!! For the pumpkin spice almond butter recipe. I printed it out and will try it ASAP!!! I love all the recipe compilations you guys are putting together recently. - 10/20/2010   4:19:09 PM
  • 38
    Thanks for sharing the recipes. I'll have to try some of them. - 10/20/2010   3:09:20 PM
  • 37
    I am going to have to try this. Also making that pumpkin syrup. I am also a sucker for the Pumpkin Spice Latte and five dollars is too much to waste on a horribly sugary drink. - 10/20/2010   3:08:31 PM
  • 36
    My son is allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts, so that pretty much rules out all "nut" butters at our house. Luckily, we have discovered "Sunbutter," which is made from sunflower seeds. I use it as a substitution in recipes that call for peanut butter, and he can safely eat and enjoy those recipes. To me, it tastes just like peanut butter, so I also enjoy it on toast or any other way you would normally enjoy nut butters. - 10/20/2010   1:12:48 PM
  • 35
    As a child and a young adult, I really enjoyed peanuts and peanut butter. In my early 50's I developed a slight allergy to peanuts so switched to soy butter. Never bought the other butters due to cost, but will start making my own so I can have a change every now and then. - 10/20/2010   12:35:03 PM
  • 34
    These look fabulous! - 10/20/2010   12:11:47 PM
    This makes me want to buy a food processor and start making these! The pumpkin spice recipe sounds SO GOOD!! :) - 10/20/2010   11:23:39 AM
  • 32
    OMG! The article about powdered peanut butters was awesome! I'd tried FitNutz and PB2, but didn't know TJs carried peanut flour! I'm going to have to look for it at mine. Much more economical and I can buy it in person. - 10/20/2010   11:11:24 AM
  • 31
    I also developed allergies to certain nuts later in life, though mine all are the nuts related to mangoes (cashews, pistachios, and Brazil nuts).

    Never made my own nut butter, though - the almond sounds wonderful!!!! - 10/20/2010   10:34:04 AM
    OMGosh...I just saw the Pumpkin Nut Butter Recipes....totally doing this TONIGHT!!!! - 10/20/2010   10:26:14 AM
    Stepfanie, my son's lunch box sounds just like yours did. :) I recently bought 6 -32oz. jars of all natural nothing added peanut butter from my local food co-op.....however....after that runs out I'm excited to try some of your recipes!!! I just may make some almond butter and keep it for myself in the meantime. :) Thanks!!! - 10/20/2010   10:24:10 AM
    Thanks for the nutty ideas, I'll have to try some soon. - 10/20/2010   10:24:09 AM
  • 27
    Kudos to you for making your own nut butters! - 10/20/2010   10:10:56 AM
  • 26
    This sounds like something worth trying. Nut butters also strike me as something my entire family could enjoy. Thanks! - 10/20/2010   9:58:31 AM
    I absolutely love almond butter but have never tried to make it myself, so I'm thrilled to see these recipes! I don't buy it very often because it is so pricey, it's a real treat for me. Thanks for posting, I'll review as I try the recipes. - 10/20/2010   9:57:39 AM
  • 24
    thanks so much for the article --- I will experiment -- I always thought you had to use oils to make nut butters. - 10/20/2010   9:08:00 AM
    WOW, those flavored butters sound wonderful. I've had an organic peanut butter that was flavored with cocoa powder. That was very tasty. I'd love to try the cinnamon flavored butter. I usually eat peanut or almond butter. - 10/20/2010   8:57:58 AM
  • 22
    OMG! While I love the other nut butters, what I am most thrilled about in this article is the pumpkin spice syrup at the end!!! HOLY MOLY!!! I am thrilled to bits about this. I don't do pumpkin spice lattes any more thanks to the calorie counts and $$ involved. I thought I had found a solution in Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice coffee to brew at home. However, once this bag of coffee is gone, I will so be making this!!! - 10/20/2010   8:35:29 AM
  • 21
    Thanks - I will try these - hmmmmm might make some great holiday gifts! - 10/20/2010   8:28:08 AM
  • 20
    Thanks - I will try these - hmmmmm might make some great holiday gifts! - 10/20/2010   8:22:43 AM
  • 19
    Thanks - I will try these - hmmmmm might make some great holiday gifts! - 10/20/2010   8:22:41 AM
    Living in Italy, my nut butter choices are horrendous. So, I make my own. I buy the nuts at a local candy maker shop (more expensive but worth it; for example, the almonds I buy are harvested from Sicily and are fragrant with no bitter aftertaste, even with the skin still on). I toast them and, then, put them in the food processor; after 10 or so minutes, I have an incredibly awesome nut butter with nothing added. - 10/20/2010   8:11:35 AM
  • 17
    I love Targets dark chocolate, and cranberry raisin peanut butters. - 10/20/2010   7:43:03 AM
  • 16
    I have never tried a butter other than natural peanut butter. Would some of the butters mentioned in this blog be a good alternative for breakfast? Just to have something different for a change? - 10/20/2010   6:56:10 AM
  • 15
    I make my own nut butters every once in a while in my mini-food processor. My favorite concoction was what I call Happy Monkey Butter -- I blended peanuts, 1/2 a banana, a little honey, and cocoa powder into a delicious, smooth and sticky butter. I want to make my own almond-hazelnut butter with cocoa sometime too... like a guilt-free Nutella. - 10/20/2010   5:50:52 AM
    natural nut butters are great. I've never tried making my own as I'd probably need a decent food processor. But I can buy great ones - just nuts, no added oil or salt - from the organic food shops near me.

    2/3 - 10/20/2010   3:58:28 AM
    Yea, have made my own nut butters with the Magic Bullet but no longer have the unit (they are great but wear out eventually). Mine were always a little dry so eventually went to buying them from Sprouts.

    This was a good blog, very interesting about the pumpkin seed almond butter, hmmm. Also did not know that with nut allergies one could not even be in the same plane with peanuts.

    Second a post someone made about Marantha Dark Chocolate Almond Butter, it is fantastic.

    - 10/20/2010   1:15:55 AM
  • 12
    Going to have to try making my own nut butters and then the pumpkin syrup idea!

    Also, FYI if you call ahead and tell them you have a peanut allergy they will serve only pretzels on the flight. I know for sure that South West air does this, but I think it's all airlines that have to do it. I'm pretty sure it has to do with accessibility laws. Worth checking into at the very least. I used to date someone with a peanut allergy so bad that if I ate something with peanuts and didn't brush my teeth well enough their lips would swell! YIKES! Only made that mistake once. But this is where I learned the trick of calling ahead. - 10/20/2010   12:23:27 AM

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