My grandparents have a walnut tree beside their home in North Alabama. Each fall, my grandmother has to race the extremely determined neighborhood squirrels if she wants enough walnuts for just one baked good.
I am always reminded just how precious those nuts are when I visit them--which might explain why I have such a fondness for them now. Walnut-topped breads, brownies, and tarts are among my most favorite desserts. Pecans are fine, sure, especially this time of year when I really crave pecan pie. But otherwise, I'm more of a walnut kind of girl.
I decided to try my hand at walnut butter because, as it turns out, it's really hard to find walnut butter in the grocery store. Almond butter is commonplace now. Hazelnut butter is becoming ubiquitous. Pecan butter is even gaining popularity. But walnut butter? I searched four stores without finding a single jar. So I made my own, and I'm sharing this recipe with you in case you find yourself wanting to try your hand at it, too.
Homemade Walnut ButterHands-on time: 10 min. Total time: 10 min.
2 cups dried walnuts4 teaspoons walnut oil1 tablespoon honey1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Add walnuts to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and clumps are forming.
Add oil, honey, and salt. Process until smooth.
You can go longer than I did (about 2 minutes), and the butter will just get smoother. However, it's important to restrain yourself from going more than 3 or 4 minutes. The butter will become gluey and thick.
The end result is very true to the walnut's original flavor I love. If you like a slightly sweeter nut butter, increase the honey by a teaspoon or two. Don't skip the salt. You need it to mask some of the nuts' bitterness.
For a fun addition, toss in a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon when you add the honey. Keep in mind: The cinnamon makes the nut butter a bit powdery, so you might need a teaspoon or two more oil. One teaspoon of walnut oil is 40 calories, so adding two teaspoons to the recipe adds about 10 calories per serving.
I refrigerate my walnut butter because you don't have any preservatives to prevent quick spoiling. In the fridge, my walnut butter lasts 2 weeks.
SERVES 8 (serving size: 2 tablespoons)CALORIES 192; FAT 19g (sat 1.7g, mono 2.75g, poly 13.2g); PROTEIN 3.8g; CARB 5.6g; FIBER 1.7g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 0.7mg; SODIUM 73mg; CALC 24.7mg
If you find yourself on the receiving end of some glorious walnuts this holiday season, read how to buy, care for, and store walnuts so you get the longest, most tasty life out of them. And let us know if you try this recipe. We'd love to hear what you think of it!