I went to a food swap on Tuesday night. Because of my nutty travel schedule, it was the first I’ve managed to be at in at least six months (we only have four swaps a year here in Philly, so it’s not as bad as it sounds) and so it was so fun to plot and plan what to bring with me.
I pulled out four half pints of the honey sweetened peach chutney* from last summer, baked up eight round loaves of honey oatmeal bread (I tripled this recipe and then divided the dough into eight portions. It meant I had six to swap, one to sample, and one to keep), and whirred up a bunch of roasted cashew and coconut butter.
The cashew butter happened for several reasons. I had a half gallon jar that was 3/4 full of cashews and they needed to be used. I also had some flaked coconut. And, I wanted to finally try making a nut butter in my Vitamix.
You see, I’ve taken something of a hiatus from homemade nut butters recently because my food processor just wasn’t cutting it (I wonder, is it possible to get a Cuisinart blade sharpened?). My machine originally belonged to my Great-Aunt Flora and is at least 35 years old (and it may well be even older). But I’d heard tell that making nut butters in a high speed blender was actually the better way to go and it was time to give it a whirl (literally).
I roasted enough cashews for multiple batches (400 degrees F for about seven minutes). Once they were cool enough to handle, I combined 1 1/2 cups of the cashews with 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in the Vitamix container and got to work. I discovered that by working on a relatively low speed, using the tamper to help keep things moving, and occasionally stopping entirely to scrape down the sides, the cashew butter was done in all of three minutes.
I also learned that it is a very bad idea to ask a five year old Vitamix to try and process a double batch of nut butter. I overheated the motor and the machine shut itself down for a full hour until it was cool enough to function without doing damage.
Still, working in small batches and giving the machine a little time to mellow out between blending rounds, this was a far more pleasant nut butter experience than I’ve had in the past (though I do acknowledge that the relatively softness of the cashews and coconut might have something to do with it. They yield more willingly than peanuts or almonds. More testing is necessary!).
Once the machine reset itself, I ended up making enough for the swap in four batches and it was something of a hit. I have a few tablespoons left in my sample jar and I’ve been rationing it until I can get more cashews and make more.
For those of you with food processors and no high speed blender, I think this butter is still within your grasp. Ashley over at Edible Perspective (the undisputed queen of internet-based nut butter recipes) has a cake batter cashew butter made in a food processor. If my instructions aren’t cutting it, head over and read through her recipe for additional guidance.
Roasted Cashew and Coconut Butter
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
- 1/3 teaspoon kosher salt I use Diamond Crystal
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spread the cashews out in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. When the oven is hot, roast the nuts for 7-9 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they are golden.
- Let the nuts cool for 15-20 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle.
- Funnel them into the container of your blender or food processor. Add the coconut and salt and pulse to chop.
- If using a food processor, run the motor, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides, until the butter smooths out.
- If using a high speed blender, run the motor on low, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides. If your blender has a tamper, use it to gently push the clumps and lumps towards the spinning blade.
- The butter is done when it is mostly smooth and even a little bit drippy.
- Scrape into a jar to store.
- This butter is most satisfying stored at room temperature, because the coconut will harden in the fridge to the point where it won't be immediately spreadable. If you make it in small batches and use it fairly quickly, keeping it on the pantry shelf is just fine.
*If you are in need of a canning fix and can’t find anything inspiring this time of year, consider making this chutney right now with the last of the season pears that are still in markets. Leave the skins on and chop them into bits (removing the stems and cores, of course). Proceed exactly as written, or add a little ground cinnamon and clove.
Can’t wait to try this! Now, if one has a food processor and a regular blender would you say that nut butters are better made in the food processor?
I would go for the food processor over a regular blender.
A few things:
1 Yes you can get a food processor blade sharpened
2 You can probably buy a new blade
3 This sounds amazing
4 Wish I had a Vitamix just so I could make this!
OOH. Maybe I’m going to have to actually buckle down and buy a machine that could handle making a batch of this. 🙂
Oh, my Vitamix better sleep real well tonight!! Because cashews and coconut are now on the docket!
this looks wonderful.
Yes, you can sharpen a processor blade. Look closely at the cutting edge. You’ll see a tiny curl of steel running along it. That’s your old edge that has been bent back with use. With very fine sandpaper or emery you can take that off and expose the original blade. t won’t be as sharp as a new one, but it will be much sharper than it was.
I put this to the test reviving a blade on a $4 thrift shop Cuisinart, and it works.
I have an older vitamix that would shut off like that however then I found out that it was happening because I was not blending it full power.
You can start on low, slowly turn the power up, then flip it to high. Full power using a tamper worked great.
Since doing this, it has not turned off on me at all. 🙂
I just wanted to say that I just purchased your book “preserving in pints” and I was SOO excited when it came in the mail. It is even better than I was anticipating. I’m a newcomer to canning/preserving but I love making jams and fruit butters and have been excited to take it to the next level by “really” canning. I have such a small kitchen, so I bought your book hoping that it would be more manageable, and I am AMAZED at how many of the recipes look unusual and delicious. I can not wait to start, and just wanted to say thanks for putting together such an amazing cookbook that fills such a void in regular canning books (small batches!)
Hi Marissa… I am a huge fan of the blog, and got my copy of your book a couple days ago and have already started planning out my canning season!
I have never made a nut butter. What is the shelf life of a recipe for something like this? Can it be sealed in a hot water bath to keep longer? etc.
Thanks so much for bringing so much fun to my kitchen!
James, a nut butter really can’t be sealed for longer term storage. They do keep really well in the fridge or freezer though. I’ve had nut butters last as long as six months in the fridge. I tend to make them in fairly small batches, though, so that they’re fresh.
Great! I know what I am doing this weekend!
Tum. That is ALL I have to say. 🙂 I am gonna Ninja mine!
In the past I have made walnut butter, using our food processor. Just grind up a 12-16 oz bag of walnuts into as fine a powder as possible, add enough oil (I used peanut oil, but walnut oil would be better) to make it into a paste, add a small amount of salt and sweetener to taste (I used stevia.)
I really found this to be delicious, and roasting the walnuts would probably have made it even better.
When I make nut butters, I have the vitamix set on number 1 and low. I start, and then at a fairly rapid pace turn it up to 10 and then hi, all within about 10 or 15 seconds. My butters don’t take more than a few minutes and the vitamix doesn’t overheat. I have a 4800 model that’s about 8 years old. I typically don’t add anything, but I do toast the nuts first and then let them cool.
I think my machine overheated because I overloaded it. If I had stuck to the smaller batches from the get-go, I don’t think I would have had a problem. The tip about starting slow and gradually building up is really good!
That makes sense – good to know. I typically do about 16 oz of nuts at once.
Hi- yes you can definitely get your food processor blade sharpened. I took mine several years ago along to a local knife sharpener and he did a great job! still cutting and slicing just like new. This butter sounds great-
My mother’s 35+ year old Cuisinart processor gave up the ghost about a year ago. I still have the relatively new workbowl and replacement blade my mom bought shortly before she gave it to me, so maybe 8-10 years ago, and the blade is still super sharp. I’ve been holding on to them thinking there must be someone out there who could use some of these parts (including a slicer blade, a shredder blade and a dough blade) for their still functioning processor! If you’d like to see if it’s the same model, shoot me an email 🙂
I very much need a new bowl! Don’t suppose yours is a DLC-8 Plus?
I usually use almonds in cooking more than other nuts, but this sounds great! Can’t wait to try it I bet the cashews go great with coconut!
What’s a food swap?
Can you use pre-roasted and salted cashews for this? I have a huge container that I’d like to make into cashew butter if it’s feasible. And can you use coconut oil if coconut is not available?
Ben, it sounds like you want to make an entirely different butter than the one I did. You can certainly give it a try, but I cannot guarantee your results because I’ve never made it with pre-roasted and salted cashews and coconut oil in place of the shredded coconut.