Nut and chocolate nut spreads. (Nut Stuff)
Some days you have to drop the heavy stuff and pick up something utterly doable! Though it is possible to find palm oil* free nut spreads it is virtually impossible here in Istanbul, besides, making your
own nut butter is easy and fun. (Just don't blame me if you end up spooning the lot!)
Important point for all Nut Stuff:
1. The nuts should be blended for a long time (about 5 minutes?) until the natural oil is released and the texture becomes virtually creamy. (Depending on the nut and the blender) peanuts seems to become more creamy than say hazelnuts that retain a slightly more coarse texture (with my 20 year old blender)
2. The blended nuts should be allowed to cool (as they warm while blended) before adding any sweet stuff (sugar, honey etc) or the mixture somehow becomes stiffer.
Blend hazelnuts (the better quality the better ... you can buy raw ones and roast them a bit in your oven or just buy roasted ones) divide into batches depending on the size of your blender.
After cooling add either of following according to taste and try experimenting.
1. Vanilla extract, drops (or a packet of vanilla şekeri) and honey. (Or sugar) To taste.
2. Vanilla and melted white chocolate.
3. Melted milk chocolate.
4. Melted dark chocolate.
5. Honey and cocoa powder. (I also tried some with coconut sugar)
If the mixture is not oily enough you can add some sesame oil (though coconut oil is recommended I haven't tried that yet).
I think my ratio is around 360-400g hazelnuts to 80g of whichever chocolate but add more chocolate at will.
I intend to try using other ingredients like coconut oil and blended dates as the sweetener. I tried dried apricots, but the nuts became more like a paste so I figure I need more oil next time.
The version with milk chocolate was the closest I got to Nutella and it was spreadable where as the honey and vanilla version is not.
I also have used mixed nuts by adding walnuts and almonds.
Blend peanuts. Add salt to taste. Also you can add sesame oil plus some tahin if you like. I heard olive oil can also be added.
(Peanuts can also be used to make a sweet spread as with the hazelnuts but their flavour is stronger)
Feel free to go mad and try use all organic and sustainable ingredients as well as Fair Trade chocolate.
You have just saved the world a bit by not buying horrid, unsustainable stuff.
*Palm Oil is in everything virtually and we should simply not eat it!
If you are unsure as to why I insist you avoid it like the plague... here are some links:
"Found in everything from shampoo to donuts, palm oil is now the most common vegetable oil in the world—and also one of the world's leading deforestation drivers."
Union of Concerned Scientists
Rain Forest Rescue