Creamy Roasted Hazelnut Butter

About five or six years back, I was in a Middle East specialty grocery store and found a jar of hazelnut butter.  Not just the normal Nutella themed chocolate and hazelnut, but straight up hazelnut butter and it was delicious! Since that time I have yet to locate it in another grocery store and I’m too lazy and/or cheap to buy it online when it’s so easy to make!

Basically, so stupidly easy I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner, but to be fair, I was on a regular old peanut butter kick and then cashew butter – both also delicious.

Creamy Hazelnut Butter

Makes about 2 cups


  • 1 pound raw hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T sugar, honey, or agave
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat over to 350F.
  2. Arrange hazelnuts on a foil lined baking tray and roast in the over for 7-10 minutes or until a light golden brown.
  3. Let cool just slightly and transfer to a clean towel. To remove the skins of the hazelnuts (they’re kind of bitter), scoop the hot hazelnuts into a pile in the center of the towel (take care due to the high heat of the nuts). Bring the four corners of the tea towel together and gather it up in one hand, so that all of your hazelnuts are scooped up in the bottom of the tea towel. Using your other hand, squish the bottom and the sides of the tea towel so that all the hazelnuts are rubbing up against each other. Do this for a couple minutes until most of the skins are removed.
  4. Separate out the skins from the nuts. I use a slotted serving spoon – it’s big enough to get more than a few nuts at a time and the holes are small enough that the nuts won’t fall through but the skins will.
  5. Place warm nuts* in a food processor and grind until smooth. Add in vanilla, salt, and sweetener (if desired) and continue to blend until a smooth butter is formed – yes, it should be kind of runny. If it hasn’t yet reached that consistency, just be patient, it will get there.

*Warm nuts tend to work a little better and faster by making the oil more available during the processing.

You can keep it stored in an air tight container. I like mason jars because you can easily see through them and they store about 2 cups perfectly.

My hazelnut butter is a little on the darker side because I toasted the nuts just a bit extra. If you like you’re lighter, just watch very closely and removed when they’ve gathered just a hint of golden. You can also make the butter raw, but won’t be able to remove the skins. Just a bit of trade offs. I also added a touch of sweetness to mine because I was trying to get as close as possible to the flavor I found in that Middle East grocery (which was akin to the chocolate hazelnut without the chocolate, but still some sweetness).

Stick around for a to-die-for dessert coming to the blog in the next couple of weeks that features this fantastic spread – hazelnutty goodness.

What are your favorite nuts butters? Do you stick with the classic peanut butter or almond or branch out into walnut, pecan, cashew, and hazelnut?

Making an Epic Cheese Board

I’ve been drooling over the massive cheese and veggie boards coming through my Instagram feed and finally gave in and just had to make one. Lucky for you, you now have a easy reference point for where to start – and just in time for New Years.


I sheepishly came home from Whole Foods with $100 sunk into this, but it definitely does not need to cost that much if you stick to some basics and self control. (I have no self control.) We brought this all over to a friend’s house for a game night and definitely didn’t need dinner after.

Making an Epic Cheese Board

Serves – 6-8 comfortably

You’ll need:

  • 4-5 types of cheese – I recommend at least one soft like brie, one hard like Manchego, a blue of some kind, and one of your other favorites. I did a Brie, Bleu soaked in brandy, Manchego, aged cheddar, and a goat chèvre.
  • 2 types of meat – salami or summer sausage always works great, but pancetta or even a fancier jerky could also work.
  • 2 types of olives – we did more since we’re a bit olive obsessed, but choosing a green (Castelventrano is growing as my current fav, I just love the nuttiness of it) and a nice kalamata will work well.
  • Apples, pears, and/or grapes – fruit adds a touch of sweetness.
  • Dried fruit – at least one variety. I really like dried apricots, prunes, or cherries.
  • A nice sliced baguette to hold the meats and cheese.
  • 2 types of crackers – I really like one to be more of the water cracker variety and the other to be a bit more seedy. I chose a rosemary cracker and a gluten free Nut Thin.
  • A fruit spread. I chose a Quince paste, but you can use anything you prefer.
  • And optionally but highly recommended if you have a cheese like chèvre – honey.
  • I almost forgot – wine! I like a nice red, but go with whatever floats your boat. A nice sparkling grape juice could also work.

Since this was going to be eaten up right away, I didn’t have my natural light to highlight all of the beautiful colors. But in the end, it’s not what it looks like but how it tastes – and this tastes darn good. I also added some dolmas since they were on sale and I absolutely love them after spending a semester in Greece.

Maybe a roasted veggie board is next on my list? Gotta keep things balanced with all of the high fat cheeses, meats, and olives.

What’s your favorite indulgent snack? 


Lemon Lavender Energy Bites

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July! And after a little over indulging, it’s time to go looking for a healthier snack alternative.

I love, love, love my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Energy Bites, but when looking to expand a little for an upcoming Health Fair I’m demoing at for work, I wanted to see what else might be out there in the the wide world of bite sized energy morsels. While scrolling through Lindsay’s Healthy Bites recipes at Cotter Crunch, I found her Lemon Pistachio Shortbread Cookie Bites. These were so outside the box from the usual energy bite recipe I see with dates, chia seeds, etc., I just had to try them. After looking at the recipe closer, I knew I’d have to make some modifications for a smaller batch, so I decided to branch out further and incorporate some lavender… because I just love the lavender and lemon combo. And by sticking with almond butter, the other flavors could really shine through.

I bought my culinary lavender from Los Poblanos Farms which is a local business, but their lavender products are featured in posh hotels around the country and you can buy most all of the lavender products online – yep even their culinary lavender, all organic. In addition to their lavender farm, they also have a historic inn and restaurant (all locally sourced or onsite farm raised ingredients) on the property. C and I had our first valentine’s dinner there – I loved the atmosphere, the size and style made me feel like I was in some old Spanish town and definitely not in Albuquerque anymore. Oh, and the food was also fabulous. 🙂

Lemon Lavender Energy Bites


  • 1/2 c raw, unsalted, pistachios (meats, shelled)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon
  • 1/2 cup almond or coconut flour
  • 1 T turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c creamy almond butter (do not use peanut butter – it will overpower the other flavors)
  • 1 tsp whole culinary lavender (you can add an additional 1/2 tsp based on strength of lavender flavor)
  • 1/4 c honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Place nuts and flour in the food processor first. I used a 2 cup food processor or small option if using a larger processor. Pulse until nuts resemble a course meal.
  2. Add in sugar, salt, lavender, and extracts. Process for another 3-5 second or until well combined.
  3. Lastly, blend in almond butter and your choice of honey or maple syrup. Pulse until well combined and the mixture holds its shape when pressed together. Add additional syrup 1 T at a time until mixture hold a shape without crumbling.
  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop mixture and form into round balls.
  5. Place balls in the freezer to set and hold their shape. After frozen, they can be left to be stored in the freezer or refrigerator.

I think this is my new favorite hiking snack or maybe just for work. 🙂

What are your favorite snack flavor combinations? 

Black Bean Hummus for the Ultimate Veggie Snacker

Black beans two weeks in a row? … at least one is sweet and the other savory? Oh well, I’m over that embarrassment, because this is another tasty healthy recipe.

I adore hummus as a healthy snack option. And find it really difficult to get bored of something you can customize so easily when you make it yourself. Traditional hummus is made from garbanzo beans, but whenever I make the original version in my little 2 cup food processor, it never gets quite as smooth. So I typically opt for a softer bean and my first favorite type of bean – the black bean.

This spread/dip is thick enough to be used on sandwiches, but my favorite is just for packing a flavor punch with veggies. 🙂 For some extra color try different color carrots, home grown or pickling cucumbers, and heirloom baby tomatoes. Oh and for a little extra crunch I’ve thrown in some Nut-Thins – seriously so good especially with the hint of salt in the sea salt variety.

Black Bean Hummus

Makes 6 to 8, 1/4 cup servings


  • 1 can black beans (~2 cups), rinsed and drained
  • 2 T tahini
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 c chopped green onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (your favorite kind), adjust for spiciness
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Additional water to improve consistency if needed.


  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor (I used a 2 cup version) but you can also use the smaller bowl option on your large processor.
  2. Pulse and blend until smooth.

Yep, two steps – super simple.

Now you can pick your favorite veggies to accompany.

Happy snacking!

My other favorite hummus is the edamame hummus from Trader Joes.

What’s your favorite brand or type of hummus? What are your favorite snacking veggies?


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