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DIY

Ginger-Cinnamon Hazelnut Butter

TIME: 30 MINUTES; SERVES: 3/4 CUP
Adapted from the ‘Minimalist Baker’

If you have a high-quality food processor or blender, you can make your own nut butters in a matter of minutes. Another bonus is that you can add or subtract any spices or flavorings you wish, and use any kind of nut or seed.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raw hazelnuts
1/2 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
A dash of salt
A sprinkle of chili powder (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 12 minutes, until dark brown—but not burnt—and fragrant.

  2. Remove from oven and let cool slightly—the skins slip off more easily if cool. Transfer to a large kitchen towel, fold over the nuts, and roll them around to remove most of the skins. Fewer skins will produce a creamier nut butter.

  3. Place skinned hazelnuts in a food processor. Purée until a butter begins to form, scraping down the sides as needed.

  4. Once it is creamy and smooth, add the ground cinnamon, ginger, chili powder, and salt. Purée again until mixed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

  5. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Roasted Nut or Seed Milk

TIME: 20 - 30 MINUTES (not including soaking time); SERVES: 3 1/2 CUPS
Adapted from Julia Turshen’s, ‘Small Victories‘

Even if you don’t have a lactose allergy, this “milk” is delicious in both hot or iced drinks. You can use any nut or seed you prefer, but like Julia Turshen, I’m a big fan of hazelnuts. Feel free to add different flavorings as well: a bit of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla, and some of your favorite sweetener makes a yummy Horchata-esque beverage, or a delicious base for chai and coffee drinks. Roasted and pressed nut milks are traditional in many cultures; I encourage you to experiment with nuts/seeds that can be grown locally & organically in your region.

*Rather than purchasing roasted nuts, look for raw nuts that have been kept in cool temperatures—a rancid, roasted nut is one of the worst kitchen surprises.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raw nuts or seeds of choice (hazelnut, almond, pumpkin, etc.)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Spread the nuts/seeds on a baking sheet and roast until browned—but not burnt—and fragrant, about 12 minutes (8 minutes for seeds). If you hear them popping, give them a quick stir.

  3. Transfer toasted nuts/seeds to a quart jar and add enough water to cover by at least 1” (the nuts will soak up the liquid). Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

  4. Drain the nuts/seeds and discard the liquid. Place in a blender with 4 cups fresh, cold water and process on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.

  5. Drain the nuts/seeds in a “nut milk bag” or cheese bag over a bowl. (Pro-tip: tie and let hang from your kitchen faucet—it can take a while to strain). Squeeze out the remaining liquid by twisting the bag from the top down. Compost the leftover nutmeat or spread outside for the squirrels.

  6. Add optional seasonings at this point. Keep in a quart jar in the fridge, and drink either warmed or iced. Shake well before use.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pressed Hazelnut Milk

Pressed Hazelnut Milk

Roasted Hazelnuts

Roasted Hazelnuts

Cinnamon-Hazelnut Latte

Cinnamon-Hazelnut Latte

Ghee & Clarified Butter

TIME: 15 - 20 MINUTES; MAKES 1 PINT
Adapted from The ‘Pioneer Woman’

I see jars of ghee at the store ranging from $15-$25, and it baffles me because it’s so dang easy to make!

You may be wondering, what is ghee, anyway?

Ghee is the next step in the process of making “clarified butter”, or butter that has had the milk solids removed through cooking. Clarified butter can often be consumed by those who have slight sensitivities to lactose, or who are following a restrictive diet. I’ll choose ghee when I want a nutty, caramelized flavor, or need to cook something at high heat. It is shelf stable, and has a higher smoke point because there are no milk solids to burn (ghee’s smoke point is 485 degrees, compared to butter’s 350 degrees.) Making your own also means you can choose the quality of butter, rather than paying for an inferior product at a higher price.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound (4 sticks) high-quality butter, preferably organic, grass-fed (either unsalted or salted works), cut into chunks

METHOD

  1. Place the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

  2. After the butter melts, it will start to bubble and separate. This is the whey separating and floating to the surface.

  3. Skim the whey off. You can either compost it, feed it to your pet, or (if you aren’t sensitive to dairy) save it and put it in smoothies, soak beans or grains in it, or marinate meat. Whey is very versatile and high in protein.

  4. Continue to cook the butter until it turns clear and the milk solids sink to the bottom. You can either turn the heat off at this point (you’ve made clarified butter), or you can continue to cook for a caramelized, nutty flavor. You want to brown—not burn—the milk solids on the bottom of the pan. This takes about 10 minutes longer depending on your stove and pan, so keep a close eye on it.

  5. That’s it! Let the ghee cool a bit and if you want to make sure the very last bits of milk proteins are removed, strain through cheesecloth, a paper towel, or a coffee filter. Store covered at room temperature.

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