Coconut Cranberry Almond Butter
It had been a while since I’d last shared a new fancy homemade nut butter recipe. In fact, it had been a while since I’d last made one at all. Perhaps I’ve come up with so many different varieties by now that my inspiration has sort of started to wear out a little.
But last week, I was in the mood for something that tasted just like I’d suddenly landed on a beautiful tropical island. I think I’ve had the tropics on my mind a lot, lately. I’m seriously way overdue for a vacation under the sun… And so this Coconut Cranberry Almond Butter came to life!
The funny thing is I’d been falling out of love with coconut over the past couple of months. I think I’ve been having too much of it during my strict paleo days; I’d been adding coconut oil, coconut flour or coconut flakes to just about everything I ate. Maybe I overdid it? All I know is I really haven’t felt like eating coconut at all for these past couple of months.
And my daughter, for her part, she doesn’t care for coconut at all. Never has, never will…
Yet, the entire family is ALL OVER this jar of goodness. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a jar of nut butter go as fast as this one did; I think I may even have to make another batch like, immediately. I don’t think I’ve ever made 2 back to back batches of any of the other fancy nut butters that I created.
Not only does this one taste amazing, it’s also super easy to make and I’m just about ready to bet that you already have all the necessary ingredients on hand, too! We’re talking almonds, shredded coconut, coconut oil, cranberries, salt and vanilla extract. Not too complicated, is it?
As usual, I chose to make the nut butter in my Vitamix, but I’m pretty sure that you could get very similar results in a regular food processor, providing that it has a good, strong motor. The only thing is that you will have to stop that motor and scrape the sides of the bowl quite regularly and the total processing time will be much longer, too.
But other than that, I have no doubt that it would totally work.
The first thing you’ll need to do is toast your almonds. Technically, you could use pre-toasted almonds, but it’s much preferable that you toast your own: nuts will start releasing their oil much faster when they’re warm, so having the almonds fresh out of the oven will help in making your nut butter happen much quicker and more efficiently.
To toast the almonds, preheat your oven to 350°F and place the nuts in a single layer on a 9″ x 13″ baking sheet. Leave them in there for about 10 minutes, or until they become slightly fragrant. Make sure to move the nuts around a few times while they are toasting, to avoid burning.
Once the almonds are done toasting, allow them to cool in the baking sheet until you can safely handle them with your bare hands, about 5 minutes. Then, transfer them to the container of your High-Speed Blender.
Like I said, if you didn’t have a high-speed blender, you could still make this nut butter in a regular food processor, but you’ll have to stop the motor and scrape the sides quite regularly and the total processing time will be much longer, too.
To the almonds, add 1 cup of shredded coconut and half teaspoon of salt…
Then pour in the melted coconut oil.
While it’s not absolutely necessary that you melt the coconut oil before adding it, doing so will, much like using warm nuts, help speed things up a bit. In its liquid state, the oil will descend directly into the blades, which will help the nuts break down more quickly and remain in the blades’ path.
Process on low speed for about 30 to 60 seconds while pushing down with the tamper as needed to help the ingredients into the blades.
At first, the mixture will appear very dry and crumbly and will look nothing like nut butter, but fear not: this is all about to change.
Here, we’re about 1 minute into the process, still coaxing the ingredients into the blades with the plastic tamper.
Slowly increase the speed to 5-6 and continue processing until the mixture starts to get creamier, about 30 seconds to a minute.
As you can see, the nuts and coconut have now started to release their oil and the nut butter has become much more fluid; the tamper is no longer needed.
Remove the lid and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula and then resume processing, progressively increasing the speed all the way up to 10.
Let her rip for about 60 to 90 seconds, until the nut butter becomes really thin in consistency and runs freely within the container, much like a thick smoothie.
Add the last 1/2 cup of shredded coconut as well as the dried cranberries and process on pulse until the newly added ingredients are well combined and evenly distributed.
Do not overdo things here, you don’t want to lose all the beautiful chunks of cranberries!
At this point, the nut butter will have thickened up slightly, but will still be fairly runny. Notice how it pretty much slides right off the spatula…
We’re about to change that and give our nut butter a much thicker and denser consistency.
In most recipes, vanilla plays a fairly passive role, in which all it does is add or enhance the flavor of a dish.
With nut butters, however, it plays a much more crucial role: it will act as a thickener. Indeed, the moisture contained in the vanilla will react with the oil that’s in the nut butter, which will instantly affect its texture and make it much thicker. That’s why the vanilla extract needs to go in at the very end and mustn’t be mixed for too long. As soon as it’s done its job, you must stop the motor, otherwise, you run the risk of seeing your nut butter separate on you.
So when you are ready, add the vanilla extract and resume processing for no longer than a few seconds, just until the nut butter has thickened up nicely.
See how dramatically that texture changed? And that happened almost instantly, too!
Your deliciously fragrant nut butter is now ready to be transferred to an airtight container…
This one you can store in the pantry for up to several weeks, or in the refrigerator for up to a few months.
But honestly, I doubt it’ll ever last that long. Rather, I think you should be prepared to make another batch in just a few days!
Coconut Cranberry Almond Butter
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract, (store-bought or homemade)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F; Place the almonds in a single layer on a 9" x 13" baking sheet. Toast for 10 minutes, or until fragrant, moving the nuts around a few times while they are toasting.
- Allow the almonds to cool until you can safely handle them with your bare hands, about 5 minutes, then transfer them to the container of your High-Speed Blender
- Add 1 cup of shredded coconut, melted coconut oil and salt; process on low speed for about 30 to 60 seconds while pushing down with the tamper as needed to help the ingredients into the blades. At this point, the mixture will be very dry and solid and will look nothing like nut butter, but fear not: this is all about to change.
- Slowly increase the speed to 5-6 and continue processing until the mixture starts to get creamier, about 30 seconds to a minute.
- Remove the lid and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula and then resume processing, progressively increasing the speed all the way up to 10. Let her rip for about 60 to 90 seconds, until the nut butter becomes really thin in consistency and runs freely in the blades.
- Add the 1/2 cup of shredded coconut and dried cranberries and process on pulse until the newly added ingredients are evenly distributed. At this point, the nut butter will have thickened up slighlty, but will still be fairly runny.
- Add the vanilla extract and resume mixing for no longer than a few seconds, just until the nut butter has thickened.
- Transfer your nut butter to an airtight container and store in the pantry for up to several weeks, or in the refrigerator for up to a few months.