Inspiration is sometimes born of necessity, sometimes from unrelated circumstances (think of that time you woke up at 3:27 in the morning with the best idea EVER) and sometimes inspiration comes from failure. So these nuts weren’t a complete failure, but they didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted. Then. . . inspiration slapped me upside the head and said, waitasecondhere. . . almond butter. Rational brain said, but you already make nice almond butter. Inspiration brain said, no, we don’t want plain almond butter, we want something fancier. Guess who won that argument?
Let’s go back a step. In my head, I pictured myself snacking away on some slightly sweet, salty, spicy crunchy almonds and pecans. So, out came the maple syrup (real stuff, not “table syrup or pancake syrup”), coconut oil, chili powder and salt. Mixed it all together and into the oven went the pan of nuts. The kitchen smelled really good. Gave them a stir once or twice during their coooking/roasting and dumped them on some clean parchment paper to cool. Well, underwhelmed I was, to say the least. Not as crunchy or spicy as I envisioned. Obviously had some ratios outta whack. After taste-testing a few of the nuts, I could feel a smile, ok it was really more like the grin the Grinch breaks into when he has his wonderful, awful idea, spreading across my face.
In my head, I swept everything off the counter in a grand gesture, stuff crashing to the floor to start creating anew. In reality, I moved the cooling nuts aside, grabbed the food processor and all the stuff. I think my heart was actually racing as I started throwing things together.
Almond butter, take two:
- 3 cups amonds
- 2 Tbsps real maple syrup
- 3 – 4 1/2 Tbsps melted coconut oil (depending how runny you want your end product)
- 1 tsp chili powder (go with your own spicy meter. Like it hot? Add more. Not a spice fan? Use less. Always good to err on the lower side of spicy at first ‘cuz you can always add it, you can’t take it out)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsps cinnamon
Again, this takes your time and patience as you scrape down the sides of the food processor. Let the almonds whirl away until they look like coarse meal and start releasing their own oils. Add the maple syrup and continue blitzing away. Throw the chili pwder, salt and cinnamon in and continue processing. Add the melted coconut oil 1 tablespoon at a time until it is as runny/thick as you want.
Taste it. Is it spicy enough? My chili powder is pretty potent so I found 1 teaspoon gave just enough heat without overwhelming the other flavours. I wasn’t aiming for so hot my mouth was on fire. I was looking for more of an olfactory mild spiciness and the cinnamon rounded that out.
Some days, I miss real bread. This would be so good on toast. Some gluten free breads are good and some are like chewing on the kitchen sponge you lost under the sink a year ago. I try not to pine for all things bread as it just isn’t productive or healthy to waste energy on these thoughts. My health and skin deserve the diligince of my gluten avoidance. Instead, I’ll load this into celery sticks, use an apple as a vessel to shovel it down the hatch, smeared on a piece of dark (71% or higher) chocolate and yes, even a good old fashioned spoonful when I’m snaky-hangry and need something STAT!
Right now, I’m thinking about ice-cream with this as a flavour stir-in . . . maybe in the summer.