I love nut butters - not only are they great just spread on some toast, or pancakes or waffles (what wouldn't you put Nutella on??), but they're perfect for baking with too. This batch I've got plans for my breakfast banana pancakes, and a tart I'm trying out for a new dessert for an upcoming menu!
For the butter
200g walnuts (soaked and dried if you have time)
2tbsp vanilla extract
4tsp coconut oil
4tsp brown damerara sugar
A couple of pinches rock salt
Splash of water
1. Soaking the walnuts and then drying them out is ideal, it makes the finished product much creamier. However, to really make the most of this you need to soak them for about 10 hours and then dry out for the same amount of time - not ideal if you've just decided to get creative on your day off. So if you haven't prepared for that, don't worry - you can still make a lovely butter by processing nuts straight from the bag.
2. Put your walnuts into the blender and give them a few pulses just to break them up before adding your vanilla. Now get ready to have a noisy blender going for at least 15 minutes, while the nuts and vanilla get ground in together, releasing all the natural creamy oils hidden underneath their hard shells.
3.After about 15 minutes it will have become a blended mass, but still with a bit of a coarse texture (not as smooth as butter just yet). If you need scrape down the side the of your blender, and then add in your coconut oil and a couple of splashes of water just to loosen it. The amount of water you need will depend on the quality of the nuts - really fresh, organic nuts shouldn't need so much.
4. Once its come together (another 5 mins blending) into a smoother consistency, add in your brown sugar and a couple of pinches of rock salt. If you don't have rock salt, it's best not to substitute in table salt because you won't get that satisfying crunch against the sweet base. Blend again for another 5 minutes.
5. (Optional) I've found if I put it in the fridge to rest for an hour or two at this stage and then re-blend for 5 minutes it really helps it get to the shiny smooth texture you want from a nut butter. If you're going to use it straight in baking or a smoothie though this isn't necessary!
6. If you have an old jam jar, you can store it in that (it can be easily piped in to keep it neat) or just a Tupperware will be fine too.
A great idea for nut butters is to pair them with super easy and really tasty banana pancakes - made from just one large banana and two eggs, with a dollop of walnut butter to help bring it together. Mix well and fry off like you would any pancake! Top with honey or sugar, or if you're feeling fancy caramelise some walnuts for an extra crunch.