I was browsing around on-line the other day and kept coming across blog posts about the making of nut butter. I really love nut butter (other than peanut butter for some reason, which I think is verging on vile), and have made various forms of it in the past. Several of the blogs talked about how relaxing, meditative even, making nut butter is.
“Hmmm.” I thought. “A zen-like afternoon of relaxing nut butter making sounds lovely, and a perfect opportunity to sneak in some chocolate consumption.” So off I went to the kitchen, armed with my camera and a bag of cashews, ensconced in Enya-esque tranquility.
Unfortunately, probably due to some kind of instinct to suppress past blender related trauma,it had some how slipped my mind that I hate making nut butter. Never before have I found the experience of making nut butter, or in fact blending anything to a paste, a meditative experience. Perhaps in order to attain this elusive state of nut-pulverizing nirvana one must posses kitchen machinery far more glorious than I, or maybe others are just suppressing their trauma too.
It all started well enough. I tipped the nuts into the ancient food processor and switched it on. It whirred into life and made short work of blitzing my cashews to a grainy texture. A swell of hope bloomed within me as the nuts began to release their oils… and then it all went down hill with alarming speed. The moment that the blades squash half of the mixture flat to the bottom beyond their reach, and splatter the other half in a ring around the perimeter of the blender leaving the blades spinning uselessly in thin air, I am filled with a rage and frustration far greater than it deserves. I recognize this is irrational.
After giving up on the food processor, transferring the mixture to my smaller blender which chose that precise moment to break down, and subsequently scooping it all back again, any wisp of inner zen was gone, my third eye blood-shot and crazed.
Eventually the nuts coalesced into a ponderous ball which pummeled laboriously around the interior of the food processor. “Well, I’ll just give it a minute” I thought, turning momentarily to get oakcakes out of the oven. I turned back to find that during the brief laps of attention the food processor had wobbled it’s way to the edge of the counter where it teetered precipitously directly over my camera on its tripod. I lunged forward and snatched the mechanical beast back from its near destruction, and that of my camera. (Okay, a tiny bit of creative embellishment may have been used in the description of the proximity to the edge, but it was close…)
In then end, after an ever-so-slightly over dramatized escape from utter calamity, the chocolate nut butter was finished. I sat and had a spoonful, and watched the delight on the face of my three year old as he had a spoonful too. It was delicious, all the more for the mayhem. Was it worth the chaos and rage?
…Yes, it most certainly was. Will it all be repeated again in a few days? Yes it will(though I may set my camera somewhere else next time).
This blog is all about finding joy and magnificence in every moment. Clearly every moment can not be perfect otherwise that perfection would be lessened. The real trick I guess is to try and find that joy in the crazy moments as much as the really peaceful ones.
And so,here’s what I’ve learned from the whole experience (brace yourself for a bit of nut-butter-zen-wisdom of Mr. Miyagi proportions):
When life throws a rumbling food processor at you (or at your camera I suppose)take it not as a mocking affront of appliancery but as a chance to embrace the magnificent mayhem, the healthy and chocolate-y nut butter will taste even better in the end.
- 300g raw cashews
- 1 1/2 Tbsp oil
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Put the cashews into a food processor and blitz until they’re well ground.
- Add 1 Tbsp of the oil, and continue to blitz until they start to become a paste. The nuts will have broken down and released their oils so it will be more of a nut butter consistency.Be patient, this can take a bit of time.
- Add the vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon and continue to blitz. The heat created from the friction on the blades will be enough to melt the chocolate. Continue, adding more of the oil if needed, until the chocolate is melted and well incorporated, and the butter has reached a consistency that you like.
- You can make this as chunky or smooth as you like depending on how long you process it for.