Vanilla Maple Pumpkin Superseed Butter

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Here’s a common scene at the grocery store: I walk down the nut butter aisle, excited to find what’s new and interesting. Something catching my eye. And inevitably, it’s the most expensive thing on the shelf. Sigh… I allow myself these purchases once in a while, but if I were to indulge every time I wanted to, I’d be broke.The funny thing is, a lot of these “specialty” spreads are made of relatively inexpensive ingredients. I recently found Naturally Nutty’s Pepita Sun Seed butter – an irresistible combination of pepitas, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and some lovely warming spices. Pepitas and sunflower seeds are some of the cheapest items I can find in the bulk bins at my local market, so I quickly decided that since I’d already spent ten dollars on the first jar, I’d save a bit of money and make my own!

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Rather than flax seeds, I used chia seeds in my version, and I had just enough hemp seeds left in the pantry to include them, as well. A splash of maple syrup and vanilla extract add wonderful depth to this delightful spread, and a touch of seal salt really makes the flavors shine.

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Roasting the seeds with maple syrup brings out their rich flavors, and caramelizes the maple syrup, creating a brittle of sorts. I can’t say I didn’t sample just a teeny tiny bit of this before turning it into a delectable spread. I’ve been enjoying it with oatmeal, apples, and, of course, straight off the spoon. I’ll have to make more before the week is up!

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You can easily customize this butter with whatever nuts or seeds you have on hand, but keep in mind that the flavor will be affected, especially in more strongly flavored nuts and seeds. I imagine cashews and almonds would make a wonderful base.

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Vanilla Maple Pumpkin Superseed Butter

Yield: About 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw pepitas
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.
  2. Combine pepitas, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and maple syrup in a large bowl and stir to coat.
  3. Spread mixture into an even layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring 15 minutes through. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer seed mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Pour in vanilla extract and salt and process until incorporated.
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What are your favorite brands of “gourmet” nut butters? I’ve heard such great things about Nuttzo, but haven’t yet been able to convince myself to spend fifteen dollars on a jar. Maybe someday…

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies

Some flavors are just meant to be together. You know what I’m talking about: Hummus and pita, apples and cinnamon, (almond) milk and cereal, chocolate and peanut butter. Let’s stop there. With the chocolate and peanut butter. The classic flavor combination that it’s nearly impossible not to love. Think about the creamy peanut butter and the melty chocolate mingling together. It’s the definition of synergy. While I’ll never say “no” to chocolate or peanut butter on their own, they’re just that much better when eaten together.

Peanut butter chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies

No matter how many times it’s been done, I never get tired of it. Whether it’s peanut butter straight from the jar followed by chocolate chips right out of the bag, oatmeal with peanut butter and cocoa powder stirred right in, or the ever popular peanut butter cup, you can’t go wrong. Chocolate and peanut butter are quite possibly magical in their ability to taste good together, no matter their form.

Peanut butter chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies

Cookies are, of course, always a winning vessel for chocolate and peanut butter. I decided to whip up a quick batch of cookies when Justin and I had company over, and, wanting to please everyone’s palates, went with the always perfect pairing. It certainly did not fail me (I had to hide half the batch to make sure I’d have enough cookies to take pictures of!) The cookies were a hit with everyone, and I have a new staple recipe to add to my list.

Peanut butter chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies

I was going for an interesting texture in these cookies, so I used chocolate chunks (from a chopped up chocolate bar) rather than chocolate chips for extra melty chocolate goodness. A bit of almond flour stirred into the dough adds (more) nutty flavor, as well as a delicate texture. I used coconut sugar and blackstrap molasses in these cookies, adding sweetness and depth, without that cloying white-sugar taste.

These cookies are great as a simple snack to have with tea, an after dinner treat, or even to give as gifts for the holidays! Try layering the dry ingredients in a mason jar, and include instructions for adding the wet ingredients and baking. Tie it up with a pretty ribbon and your gifting is complete!

Peanut butter chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (I used blackstrap)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks or chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, applesauce, almond milk, coconut sugar, molasses, flaxseed, arrowroot, and vanilla extract.
  3. Mix in whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined. Fold in chocolate chunks.
  4. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, leaving an inch between each. Flatten in a criss cross pattern with the tines of a fork.
  5. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until edges are golden. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
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What are your favorite flavor pairings? Any odd combinations that others don’t share your love for? I have a penchant for eating everything with mustard (apples dipped in hummus and dijon mustard is particularly tasty!)

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Food (and other things) for thought

It’s been busy around here lately. School, work, and snuggling with Effy have kept me from being in the kitchen as much as I’d like, but I’ve still been devouring some wonderful looking recipes, at least with my eyes! I’ll be back soon with recipes, but for now, take a look at what’s caught my eye this week:

•Kathy’s recipes are always a delight, and this week her skillet-popped lentils and savory miso broccoli bowl caught my eye.

•Greatist posted an interesting article about the science behind some people’s timeliness (or lack thereof).

•Do you still have leftover cranberry sauce (I don’t know how mine has lasted so long, but it’s probably because I made about a gallon of it). These cranberry swirled pumpkin pancakes from the Peachy Palate sound amazing

•Here’s a great recipe for a lazy weekend: nourishing nut and seed bread from Nutrition Stripped.

•A great read from Ginny Messina (The Vegan R.D.) about vegan diets for healthy bones.

•I’ve long been a fan of persimmons, and this persimmon “sorbet” from Food 52 looks like a wonderful way to enjoy their naturally wonderful flavor.

•These homemade candy cane kisses from Fork and Beans are sure to delight all who are lucky enough to try them.

What have you been reading this week?

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