Almonds and corn…who knew?

There are many things the blog world has exposed me to: overnight oats, green monsters, running marathons. But probably my favorite thing that I’ve learned from the blogosphere is how to make my own nut butter. Hummus was the impetus to ask for a food processor for my birthday a few years ago – but it’s now my favorite kitchen tool for many reasons.

I’d already progressed from Skippy to the natural peanut butters, but I hated the separation factor. The first few tablespoons were always more oil than substance, and the last few were a dry, peanutty paste that I mixed into oatmeal to cover up the texture. And then I read about making your own in a food processor. Suddenly I wasn’t limited to just chunky or smooth peanut butter – there was a whole, nutty world in front of me. In fact, the first time I had almond butter wasn’t from a jar, it was from my kitchen. Before making it at home, I didn’t even know it was available in the stores. And best of all, when you make it at home, there’s no separation! It all stays deliciously smooth and creamy (even if it’s chunky, if that makes sense).

When I discovered making new flavor combinations, I thought I’d died and went to heaven. I still haven’t made a chocolate peanut butter (what’s wrong with me?!) but definite favorites are maple cinnamon almond butter, chai spice almond butter, and the focus of my post today: savory almond butter. In reality, if you follow all of these links, they will lead you to Ashley at Edible Perspective who has an amazing repetoir of nut butter recipes.

I was intrigued by her savory almond butter when I first saw it, but was a bit stumped about how to use it. It didn’t seem quite right on toast, and definitely not in oatmeal. For a while I was using it with carrot sticks or apple slices; the spicy kick pairs well with their natural sugars.

But most recently I’ve discovered two methods that are ultra delicious and perfect for breakfast or lunch. One was inspired by my friend Shannon at tilted skillet. She told me how a favorite breakfast is corn tortillas toasted until crisp with almond butter. A perfect use for savory almond butter!

My second favorite use is savory almond butter on polenta muffins. I made these peppery polenta bites for a dinner party last week, and had a lot of left over polenta so I put it into bigger muffin tins. Take them out of the fridge, bake them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, and top with a dollop of savory almond butter. Perfection.

(I think better food photography is going to be my next 6 week life challenge!)

There’s an argument about whether making nut butter at home is cheaper. Frankly, with the price of organic almonds and peanuts, my guess is probably not. But I love that I can create new flavors without a ton of added sugar or oil (I actually never add oil to my nut butters). Also, we use the same jars over and over again, even when we buy in bulk from the store, so we don’t accumulate cabinets full of jars because I’m so loathe to throw them away.

Plus, there’s just something cool about making something at home that normally comes from a jar. I recently read, in addition to the books I listed this morning, A Dirty Life, about a couple who makes everything from scratch on their farm – from butter to pickles to flours. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m pretty sure nut butters are a gateway drug to future homesteading!

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