We finished up a batch of sunflower seed butter yesterday so I decided it was time for another experiment. This time, I used hazelnuts and cashews.
Hazelnuts and cashews are nuts that everyone loves, so how could I go wrong making a butter out of them? But first, let’s look at the health benefits:
Hazelnuts: Like all nuts, hazelnuts contain lots of healthy fats. They are especially high in oleic acid, which is the same fat found in olive oil. Oleic acid is great for lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol, supporting a healthy heart, and creating healthy hair and nails. Hazelnuts also contain powerful phytochemicals that can support brain health, improve circulation, and help relieve allergy symptoms. They are high in protein (9 grams per half cup) and fiber (5 ½ grams per half cup), so are great for topping salads or yogurt to make a complete meal. Finally, hazelnuts are a strong source of vitamin E, folate, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Cashews: Cashews are lower in fat than most other nuts and, like hazelnuts, are very high in oleic acid so are good for heart health. They are rich in copper, which helps with proper absorption of other nutrients such as iron. Copper is also important for proper bone development, along with the calcium and magnesium found in cashews. Cashews have high levels of tryptophan, which is a natural mood enhancer. They are one of my favorite nuts and I eat them in so many different ways: in stir fry with veggies and brown rice; on top of yogurt; roasted with different spices; on salads; and now, as a nut butter!
I started with about 1 cup hazelnuts and 2 cups cashews. Any ratio works, this is just what I ended up with. I buy my nuts in bulk so it’s always kind of a guess as to quantity.
Mix the nuts in your food processor, blender or Vita Mix until the butter is very smooth and creamy. Enjoy!
I made this last night after class and Ed came home just in time to taste-test it. We both loved it – and the color is nice and light, like hummus (vs. the pumpkin seed or sunflower seed butters, which are just as tasty but are grayish-greenish, which can be a tad unappetizing...). I think kids would love this too – it’s perfect for sandwiches or for dipping veggies or apples.