By Kay Stepkin, Special to Tribune Newspapers
November 7, 2012
Have you noticed the prices of raw-nut butters? Wow!
I've started grinding my own delicious butters. All you need is a food processor.
The only trick is to begin by grating the nuts using the grating blade. Dump out the grated nuts and install the S blade. Place the grated nuts back in the bowl, then leave the processor running until the nuts have released their oil, and the mixture is more or less creamy.
The more than 50 percent saving makes the nut butters taste even better.
Use nut butters as a spread on bread or stirred into cooked vegetables or in baked goods, like these cookies.
Tip: If not using an electric mixer, you might have to use your hands toward the end of the mixing.
Almond-butter sandwich cookies
Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 10 minutes
Makes: 20 cookies
2 sticks (1 cup) plus 1 teaspoon nonhydrogenated margarine
1/2 cup maple sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons applesauce
2 tablespoons soy milk
2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon ground flaxseed or chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/3 cup almond butter
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Beat 1 cup margarine with the maple sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the vanilla, applesauce and soy milk. Mix the flour, flaxseed and salt together in a separate bowl. Pour all at once into first bowl; stir until just barely mixed together.
2. Scoop out 2 teaspoon-size rounds of dough. Using a firm, flat spatula dipped in pastry flour, flatten them into rounds 1/8-inch thick and about 2 inches in diameter. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until the edges are lightly browned, 10 minutes. Cool slightly; transfer to a rack.
3. Melt the remaining teaspoon of margarine in a saucepan over low heat; add the chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup. Stir until smooth. Mix the almond butter with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup.
4. Place half the wafers back on the cooled cookie sheet, flat sides up, all sides touching. Use a fork to lightly and quickly drizzle half the chocolate over them. Scoop about 1/2 teaspoon of nut butter on top of each chocolate-drizzled wafer. Place another wafer, round side up, atop each to make sandwiches. Drizzle more chocolate on top of each sandwich. Let set before eating, 1 hour.
Per serving: 189 calories, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 17 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 162 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking instructor and former owner of a vegetarian restaurant/whole-grain bakery. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.