You’d Butter Believe It

Last year in a post called Why Stripping Wallpaper Is Like Weight Loss I reckoned that you could pretty much turn anything into a crappy metaphor for lard busting. Sunglasses, chickens, bananas, etc. I’ve got another one for you today: Making Your Own Almond Butter Is Like Weight Loss. Ohhh… yeah!

Way back in July 2006 Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini fame posted a recipe for homemade cashew nut butter, or beurre de cajou as they so elegantly say across the Channel. You grind raw nuts in a food processor until the natural oils emerge and transforms into a preservative-free trans-fatless natural goo. I was dying to make an almond version, but was convinced I couldn’t be trusted not to gobble the whole jar with a spoon.

Eighteen months later, I try not to say that sort of thing. I don’t like to think of foods as dangerous or triggers or any word that implies that I am a powerless, out of control fruitloop that needs to be muzzled at farmer’s markets. So I felt I was ready to pulverise some nuts.

Almond butter is delicately grainy and almonds are very nutritious, don’t you know. But it is pricey. £1.80 for a tiny 170g jar! It’s a lot cheaper in the USA – I lugged a big jar of Trader Joe’s stuff back from Chicago. It had honking huge shards of almond that stabbed the roof of the mouth in a painfully pleasant way. But once that ran out I was back to the expensive one, which made me recall Clotilde’s recipe. Hmmm, I said in a tightwad tone befitting of one who has lived in Scotland almost five years, I could buy a half a kilo of raw almonds for the same price and make my own! THRIFT-O-RAMA!

Back in January, I bought my bag o’ nuts and prepared to churn out another shitty metaphor.

Making almond butter is like weight loss because…

1. You start out with a lumpy mess!

Ab4

Ho ho ho.
This is actually 500 grams of raw almonds, which I toasted in the oven.

2. The fundamental recipe is simple
Dump almonds into food processor, process at high speed until creamy. That’s all there is to it! Eat less, move more! EASY!

3. The reality is painfully slow and messy and tedious frustrating as hell.
I hit the button.
And I ground and I ground and I ground.
And nothing happened.
So I looked at the clock. Ground some more.
Grind grind grind.
Sweat swear sweat.
Nothing happening!
It’s not working! WHY ISN’T IT WORKING?! The recipe said it would work!
Twenty minutes of solid labour and all I had was almond clods!
This blows. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!

Ab3

4. When you least expect it, it all comes together.
By this point the food processor was almost too hot to touch. I was waiting for the smoke to appear. But after twenty five minutes the first trickle of oil oozed out. BROWN GOLD! And then finally it started to take shape.

Ab2

5. The end product may not be exactly what you’d dreamed of. Might a bit rough. And lumpy.
Or look like complete dogs droppings. And I’d overtoasted the nuts – our oven has two settings: Cold Indifference or Cremains, so you can never get things right. But perfection is for… perfect people. This stuff had character! It was delicious too, subtle and creamy.

I also managed to eat it in a sensible manner, spread over a series of breakfasts (with Bonne Maman apricot jam, CHOICE!) I didn’t attack it with spoons or write odes of longing when we were apart. There’s hope for me yet.

CONCLUSION
This mega jar of almond butter was a bargain at just £2. Of course that doesn’t account for labour and half an hour of electricity. But just like the lard busting, sometimes the most effective method is not the most efficient!

Ab

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43 thoughts on “You’d Butter Believe It

  1. Mmm almond butter! I’d totally make that myself, but as much as I’d like to agree with you about foods not being dangerous or triggers, I’m pretty sure I’d eat half the jar anyway!

  2. When I lived in Hobart I used to go to a health food shop that had a peanut butter grinder. You took your container in and pressed the button on the machine and it ground the peanuts into butter. Of course, Andrew loved it as a kid cos it looked like a big, sticky peanutty poo coming out! I just had to share that… lolz.

    As for the weight loss metaphors, have you read Bird by Bird (writing book by Anne Lamont, which is totally brilliant). She has her rules for writing then says they can apply to other things, and uses them for her running as well – stuff like keep moving etc.

    I guess it shows that sometimes the process is learning to learn, rather than the process itself. Kind of like how they say it’s important for kid’s to learn a second language, no matter what it is because they are actually learning the language learning process — does that make any sense?

  3. HA! You are too cute somedays.

    I used to get two peanuts and chew and chew and chew until it became peanut butter in my mouth. Sure, all my friends thought I was weird, but imagine the electricity I must have saved ;) LOL

  4. Sigh, another blog that makes me long to have a Trader Joe’s nearby.

    But, you’ve given me renewed hope that I could at least make my own almond butter. Mmmm. Yum.

  5. “our oven has two settings: Cold Indifference or Cremains”

    Dude, I almost woke up the toddler with that one. Not cool. Not cool at all. ;)

  6. You’ve inspired me to do this with some macadamias.
    Mmmmmm….macamadamias.
    Bonne Maman’s appeared in Aussie shops just after I became addicted in France. But not the creme de marron (chestnut spread). Sob!

  7. you are far more patient than i… when i made this back in june 2006 for my birthday breakfast, i just added a drizzle of oil to get it going. Still took about 10min but damn, 25 min, i would have given up ;) patience and persistence! vital keys in both making nutbutter & losing lardy bits!!

  8. Re: Gracie’s question about homemade Nutella…

    According to the recent TV adverts it must be pretty easy to make, and actually fantastically good for you as it contains a whopping 52 hazelnuts, a glass of skimmed milk and a bit of cocoa. So give it a go if you’re feeling brave!

    (Obviously this is meant with extreme sarcasm, see link to which.co.uk for more info)

  9. Almond butter sounds brilliant but, like another poster, I’m not yet confident enough to be able to resist the siren call of toast and homemade almond butter with jam at times other than breakfast…it would I fear be demolished in a blaze of fatty glory over the course of one weekend. Myabe next year I will have learned some restraint!!!

    Lesley x

  10. Do you just put your almond butter on the counter? I refrigerate my homemade peanut butter because if not it seprates and I have been told it can go rancid if not eaten within a few days.

  11. Helloooo comrades!

    Karen – I stored it in the fridge, it was just out for its photo shoot :)

    Serenity – COOL! That Nutella ad has been driving me apeshit, I’m glad the Which people are onto it!

  12. Our grocery store has a machine that grinds up the almonds and spits the almond goo out the other end! It’s very disgusting looking, but the almond butter is delightful. After reading this I am going to go have some on toast for lunch. Yummers.

  13. Bwahaha.. you made me cry with laughter. I have done this almond-busting caper and yes, it’s quite a lot like losing fat, you think you’re getting nowhere and then suddenly – brown goo. :O)

  14. ack… my very first post and you responded to me… If I had known you were going to do that I would have posted something much more clever and complimentary… I found your blog right after the new year and spent several weeks getting very little work done but reading both blogs from the very beginning. You are FABULOUS! Also, Green and Blacks should pay you for the complimentary things you say about their chocolates… I am not a big fan of chocolate but many a day found myself thinking about how wonderful their’s must be… in fact so much so that I spent several days hunting some down and bought 3 big bars once I found them. Again, not being a chocolate fan I found them good, but my husband and kids raved over them and are now hooked.

  15. Elizabeth, that sounds bloody beautiful :) I used to get fresh ground PB back in Australia but fresh almond goo! THAT would rule !

    Karen, hi again, nice to meet you! And good to see more G&B addicts joining the ranks. So if you’re not a chocolate person, I gotta ask what’s your poison? :)

    Oh, and Tess, glad the book finally made it matey, woohoo!

  16. ‘And I’d overtoasted the nuts – our oven has two settings: Cold Indifference or Cremains, so you can never get things right.’

    SNORT. Best use of the word ‘cremains’ EVER. I more than emphathise. The house I’m in now came with an oven of such advanced vintage that it’s actually marked in fahrenheit.

    I also greatly appreciate your craftiness with metaphor, lady. That almond butter looks amazing. All I need now is a food processor. And, you know, counter space to keep it on.

  17. Rachy! I made this in one of those tiny wee mini processors that come with stab blenders sometimes. I don’t think it was really designed for such a hefty task BUT it takes up very little bench space :)

  18. Speaking of Green and Blacks, I don’t know if anyone has told you but it is now finally available in supermarkets here in Oz. Still a hefty $3.99 per hundred gram block, just enough to make you hesitate about reaching for it too often, but much better that the old $11 at Community Aid Abroad.

  19. Yum! My dad made Kumquat marmalade this weekend while visiting, he’s such a great house guest: “hello, I have a bunch of kumquats, can I make you some jam?”

  20. Hi shauna, just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your book! I can identify with so much of it, not least your weight watchers experiences! I hate the place! Have only been going just over a month and i am glad I didnt go at the start or I feel I would have given up long ago.
    Well done on your terrific loss. I am a few pages from the end of your book and it has made me change the way I feel about myself and how MY GOAL is right for me, and going by a BMI chart is not always the best thing to go by.
    well done again.
    X

  21. Did you think about adding vanilla to the mix? I have these pods of Madagascar vanilla bean that I bought because a) they smelled good and b) i thought they would look fancy in my kitchen but I realized that c) I have no idea how to cook with them. Maybe I’ll just steal your almond butter idea and throw my useless good looking pods in.

    I am so glad that that I just burned calories.

  22. Hi Shauna count me in the G&B fan club – I can almost taste it now, melting on my tongue..mmmmmm!

    I like the sound of the Almond Butter – not something I’ve ever tried, and mybe now isn’t quite the right time for me to start ;)

    Was reading your 2005 archives last night at work (I was getting paid and reading your blog – how cool is my job!) What compulsive reading, I could hardly tear myself away!

    Belated congratulations on your wedding :-)

  23. LOL LOL LOL

    I couldn’t stop guffawing at your analogy. Thanks for a good laugh during an otherwise dull day!!

  24. Hi Shauna,
    Just came across your story in the Blackmores newsletter. Amazing weight loss!

    You are certainly an inspiration to all of us who struggle with our weight.

    Will definitely check out your almond butter recipe (I’d never heard of it)

  25. Well, I finally made it to your blog, after about 10 months of promising my self “I must check out that Diet Girl I heard about…” on an almost daily basis! So glad I did, reckon you and I will close, if virtual, soul mates in a very short time!!

    Your book is in the mail to me as I write, & boy am I keen to get reading.

    I am mid-journey myself (lost 8.5 stones last year, reagained about 2 of them and now have about 3.5 stones l to lose till I am happy with me.) You are already my inspiration. For that I thank you ,and almond butter…..mmmmmmmm

    Better wait for that one!

  26. Made a small batch of almond butter in my tiny food processor. Thought it might burn up, had to give it a couple of rest periods, but I got my butter! Cashews are next on the list. Thanks, I had no idea how easy it was, and it cost a fortune in the grocery store.

  27. One time back home in South Africa I bought a jar of Macadamia butter which just looked so delicious. I planned on giving the posh little jar to my aunt since I had been staying with her for a week or so. I decided to just have a taste, and ended up hiding the jar in my suitcase, demolishing it bit by bit with a spoon. At night. In the dark. Good Lord it was too delicious. I could make myself almond butter, but not macadamia butter. I would once more eat it all up.

  28. I know it’s nearly 2 years later, but I tried this today! I was all prepared for the long haul, setting up the food processor in the bathroom so as not to drown the house and other occupants in noise, but it only took 5 minutes start to finish. I guess it depends on the machine…and what I thought was a crappy Mistral was actually up to the challenge…

  29. Have you tried adding water? It forms much more quickly, and besides, my little secret, there’s more! True it may lose some flavor and texture if you add too much, but there’s more for a lower calorie count, and it’s much easier for the machine to blend it. Also try blending smaller batches. I use a cup of peanuts and 2/3 cup of water, which becomes watery but delicious peanut butter! I’m sure it works for other nuts too.