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DC Challenge: Nut Butters

July 20, 2010

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online. I tried three different recipes: an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. Permit me to share with you my meal of nut butters.

First, as a side note on a recent foray into dumplings, I bought egg roll wrappers and decided to use them in this Daring Kitchen challenge. Paired with a peanut butter, cilantro and green onion dip, I made fried avocado and artichoke heart rolls.

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For the egg rolls, mix together:

  • 1 diced avocado
  • 1/4 Cup chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1/4 Cup chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 2 TB diced cilantro

Divide mixture between egg roll wrappers, wet the edges with water, and then fold up like a burrito. Once rolled, brush with egg wash and deep fry until the wrapper is golden.

For the dip, combine in a food processor until smooth:

  • 1/4 Cup peanut butter
  • 2 TB balsamic vinegar
  • the juice of one lime
  • 1/4 Cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 TB honey
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic

For the main entree, I used cashew butter to make gravy for country fried steak. This cashew butter gravy is completely vegan with the use of only green onion, a little olive oil, soy sauce, water, and cashew butter. And please, believe me when I tell you this gravy is 10 times better than your traditional roux-based gravy. For me, the most stressful part of country fried steak is making the gravy after frying the steaks.

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Instead of all the mess of making the roux with the oil after having fried the steaks, you simply make the gravy beforehand. All there is to do is sauté the onions, then blend the onions together with the remaining ingredients in a small food processor or blender, and put over heat to bring to a boil. Once the gravy is at a boil, it thickens to become a lusciously delicious no-guilt gravy.

  • 5 chopped green onions, sautéed in 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Cashew Butter
  • 1 Cup Water (or beef broth, if not abiding a vegetarian diet)
  • 2 TB Soy Sauce

And folks, that’s all there is to it. No wondering if your country fried steak is getting soggy waiting for you to make the roux; you already have your gravy waiting on the hob to pour over your steaks the moment you pull them out of the oil.

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And for dessert? How about some nut-buttery almond spice cookies?  I had slivered almonds on hand, so I put together these Spiced Almond Cookies.

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Add slivered almonds to food processor and process until the almonds resemble coarse breadcrumbs. At that point, remove one half cup of processed nuts.  Continue to process the remaining nuts in the food processor until the nuts resemble paste, adding oil a teaspoon at a time as needed to aid processing.

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After making the almond butter, to make the cookies combine all the dry ingredients, and then mix together with the remaining butter and wet ingredients.

  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 TBs (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c almond butter
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup slivered almonds, ground to resemble coarse breadcrumbs

Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. In another bowl, beat butter until creamy, and then add the sugars and continue to beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in almond butter until incorporated, and then add vanilla and egg. Then, gently stir in the dry ingredients lastly adding the processed almonds. Roll cookies into 1.5 TB sized balls. Place on baking sheets and press each ball twice with a fork to make a crisscross design. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies turn a golden color.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Leigh permalink
    July 21, 2010 3:32 pm

    Your photography is stunning !!

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