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

Ingredients

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

Directions

  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?


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

Ingredients

  • 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.

Directions

  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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Black Bean Mocha Brownies

Achilles heel? Kryptonite? Whatever way you like to phrase your weakness, brownies are mine. I can turn away from cake; I can turn away from cookies; I can even turn away from ice cream, but put a brownie in front of me and I crumble… especially the fudgy brownies. And if they’re the crunchy top brownies, I’m finished, vanquished. With that being the case, I’m alway on the look out for a healthier brownie version; and while I’ve found some great options with almond flour gluten free brownies, pumpkin, and a few others, black bean will always be my favorite. Beans in brownies? Yes it may seem crazy, but is so so good. I stumbled upon this recipe probably 6 years ago or so – which means I honestly can’t pinpoint where the original recipe came from.

While there are a lot of black bean brownie recipes out there, this is by far my favorite and the easiest in my opinion. And because we’re replacing the oil and eggs with the beans, depending on what brownie mix you pick, they’re definitely vegetarian but can also easily be vegan as well.

Over the years I’ve ramped up the coffee in the recipe to really make them more of a mocha. 🙂 I also started experimenting with cold brew coffee, but you can use just strong black coffee or even espresso instead.

Black Bean Mocha Brownies

Serves 16-20

Ingredients

  • 1 box chocolate brownie mix with chocolate chips (the chips in there make a real difference, I use Ghiraradelli), or another rich mix
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c cold brew coffee or other strong coffee
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 c additional water or coffee

Directions

  1. To puree the black beans, process in a food processor with 1/4 cup of cold brew coffee until very smooth and you don’t see large pieces of bean skin (hull?).
  2. Then mix with the rest of ingredients, remaining coffee, and last additional 1/4 cup water or coffee (depending on how much mocha flavor you want) until batter is your desired consistency. Adding a little less water will help with the texture, but the full 1/4 cup are guaranteed to make the brownies extra fudgy.
  3. Follow the directions on the brownie box, baking at about 325 for 35-40 minutes; you want to undercook them a little bit so they’re not dry.
  4. Bake in an 8×8 pan, and they’re still pretty thick. I typically use a 9×9 pan because my brain works on size of the top of the brownie and doesn’t always register how thick it is when it comes to portion sizes.

Holy yum! And I don’t feel as guilty eating one of these a day (until the pan is finished)… or maybe two? But in order to avoid the dreadful task of having to eat theses all by yourself because your partner in life, food, and fun can’t reconcile that these delicious treats are made with beans – I suggest you share with another group of fine people.

Enjoy!


Nutty Parsnip Fries

Looking back through some of my old food pics and blog posts I ran across my recipe for parsnip fries and was so mad at myself that I hadn’t made them in 3 years! They’re incredibly delicious. Nutty – slightly crazy – covered with a peanut almond sauce.  I immediately made them, along with a kale salad and crispy tofu. (oh, and wine too – it was that not so great day.)

Ok, right, Ingrid… parsnips as fries?  The answer is most definitely YES.  Parsnips are similar to carrots, but have a little more sugar, so they’ll cook up sweeter.  They are also packed with fiber, vitamin C, and some folate.  I would definitely recommend adding these to your basket next time you’re at the market – especially the farmer’s market come harvest time – yum!  I also made a parsnip gratin way back when – that was also crazy good (covered in cream and not at all conventionally healthy, but so good for the soul).

Nutty Parsnip Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 T peanut butter (I like smooth best)
  • 2 T almond butter
  • ~4 large parsnips cut like  fries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F or 400F (depending on desired crispiness).
  2. Wash, peel, and cut up the parsnips.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together nut butters and oil. Toss the parsips in the butter mixture and coat evenly.
  4. Spread out fried on a large sheet pan, pop in the oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until to desired crisp.

Eat and enjoy!  I would say serves 2-4, but really I don’t share at all.  And good luck if they even make it to the table, they’re that addicting!

MAR
21

Nutty Parsnip Fries

Nutty – no not crazy, but covered with a peanut almond sauce.  I made these before and then they were gone so quickly I didn’t get a picture… but have no fear – this time I managed to snag one before everything got gobbled up.

Ok, right, Ingrid… parsnips as fries?  The answer is most definitely YES.  Parsnips are similar to carrots, but have a little more sugar, so they’ll cook up sweeter.  They are also packed with fiber, vitamin C, and some folate.  I would definitely recommend adding these to your basket next time you’re at the market – especially the farmer’s market come harvest time – yum!

Peanut Butter Parsnip Fries

Ingredients
1 T olive oil
3 T peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, I’ve used both)
2 T almond butter
~4 large parsnips cut like fries (you’ll want to make sure you have enough to share… or not)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375F or 400F (depending on how crispy you like your fries).
Wash, peel, and cut up the parsnips.
In a large bowl, stir together butters and oil.  Toss the parsnips in the nut butter mixture and coat evenly.
Spread out fries on a large sheet pan, pop in the oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until desired crisp.

Eat and enjoy!