Almond Hazelnut Butter

*Updated. WordPress previously published an incomplete version – oops!

Nut butter is one of my main food groups.

It’s right up there with kale, strawberries, and red wine. I eat it pretty much every single day and I could polish off a jar with wild abandon. In my mind, there are very few things that are not made better with nut butter.  With that said, nut butter is incredibly good for you – but also incredibly caloric.  It contains lots of good fats and protein but it can be easy to eat a few dozen spoonfuls too many.   This nut butter may help solve that problem.

Normally, I make peanut butter or cashew butter every week but this week I was out of peanuts.  Instead I had almonds and hazelnuts, so I went ahead and worked with what I had.  I had seen a recipe for nut butter with almond milk over at Oh She Glows and thought I would try it out – double the volume and cut the calories in half (1 Tbsp of this only has 47 calories! Of course, the protein content is greatly reduced as well, but it does still offer a healthy dose of  fat – approx. 4g)? Sounds pretty damn good to me.

And oh, it was.  It requires a bit of patience, but it is totally worth it in the end.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go slather almond butter on absolutely everything.

Almond Hazelnut Butter

Yields: about 2 cups

Inspired by: Oh She Glows

1 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts

1 tablespoon canola or other light tasting oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup almond milk

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.

2. Combine nuts, maple syrup, and cinnamon on a baking sheet.  Stir around to make sure everything is evenly coated.  Roast for 7-10 minutes, until you can smell them.  Keep an eye on them, you don’t want burnt nuts.

3. Let cool for 2-3 minutes no longer! If you let them cool too long you have a very difficult situation on your hands since the sugar hardens and they become like rocks.

4. Transfer nuts to food process and add vanilla extract.  Let whirl around for a good 10-15 minutes.  It takes awhile, don’t worry though, it will come together.  You’re going for a very thick peanut butter consistency.

5. Add in the canola oil to bring everything together.  Give it another whirl for 2-3 minutes.

6. Gradually add in almond milk.  If you like it a bit thicker, then start out with 1/2 cup of almond milk and go from there.  Mix until everything is thoroughly combined.

7. Transfer to a clean, sterile jar and keep refrigerated.

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Snack Time: Gluten-Free Nola Bars

I’m a snack fiend. It’s true. I love crunchy snacks – during my undergraduate career, one of my roommates and I lived off of popcorn during finals time. I love fruity snacks, salty snacks…basically I’m non-discriminatory towards all snack products.  What I don’t like? Snacks that have more ingredients than a pizza and ingredients that I can’t pronounced.  That’s why I decided to take charge of my snacking and decided to make my own.

I love little portable delicious bites that I can take to work or put in bag for a pre or post workout snack.  I think it may have something to do with my obsession of all things small. Weird? Yes. But true. My fiance loves easy ready-made snacks as well. We both love bars, so it only seemed natural to start making our own.

After doing some serious internet research and making a few attempts, I think I finally found a granola bar recipe that is fool-proof.  This recipe is more a template – a guideline if you will.  They are super easy to make and you can make a different version everytime.

Simple, delicious, and healthy. Yum.

Gluten-free Granola Bars

This recipe is more of a template. Feel free to use any dried fruit, nuts, and other add-ins that you like!

Also, you can make this recipe as sweet or not-sweet as you like – simply adjust the amount of honey or other sweetener.

2 cups oatmeal, gluten-free

1 1/2 cups almond meal *

1/2 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit, processed or chopped

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup coarsely ground/chopped hazelnuts or other nut of choice

honey to taste

pinch of salt

approx. 1/3 cup water – this will vary greatly

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line your baking pan with parchment or a silicon baking sheet (I used a large cake pan, but feel free to use a jelly roll pan, brownie pan, or whatever pan you would like!).

2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except honey and water.

* I made my own almond meal, however it is available at most stores.  You can make any type of nut flour by placing nuts in food processor (for almonds – blanched and slivered, for others just make sure the skins are removed) and pulse until it reaches desired consistency.  Don’t turn the processor on full force, or you will end up with nut butter (which is also delicious!). Store in the fridge and enjoy.

3. Add your desired amount of honey or other liquid sweetener and stir to combine.

4. Add water sparingly until the mixture is moist and holds together when squeezed. Add the water slowly as you don’t want the mixture to be too wet.

5. Pour the mixture into the pan and firmly press down into the pan.  Really press down and make sure it is all compacted.

6. Using a sharp knife, cut the bars into your desired shape.

7. Pop the bars in the oven for around 25 minutes until the bars are golden brown.

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