"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Cashew butter: Make it or buy it?

by Julie on January 11, 2012

in Breakfast, Minor Miracles

A year or so ago I might have mentioned my little thing with cashew nut butter. I was never a big peanut butter fan. But cashew nut butter changed my world. I can’t get enough of it, for whatever reason.

It doesn’t take long to make, but making it involves some measure of intent and focus and concentration, and that always makes me twitch. Surely there was a jar of pre-made cashew butter that I could buy for less than the $15 Whole Foods wanted for theirs?

Then my happy neighborhood Fresh & Easy opened. And lo! It did offer a jar of cashew nut butter. And it was only nearly $7.

One day, feeling flush, I splurged on a jar. I’ve been wanting to conduct a little experiment for a while now…What was more economical — and tasty? This?

The store-bought contender

Or this?

DIY fodder

I’ve often wondered. I mean, if it was just as good I could save myself some hassle and just buy the stuff. Which, yeah, is cheating, but you know how I am.

Anyway, here’s how you make your own cashew nut butter.

Set your oven to 350.  Simply open your bag and dump those nuts out on a cookie sheet. Roast the cashews until you can just smell them, about 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure you don’t burn them — it’s a very fine line between heavenly perfection and sorta bitter meh. Once you catch the whiff, turn the oven off and remove them.

Beat back the children. They will eat all of your roasted nuts if you’re not watching them. You haven’t experienced a full life until you’ve had a few freshly roasted cashews … and the nits know that all too well. Beat them back, I say! This cashew nut butter is for you!

roasted just so....


Put them in a food processor (the nuts, not the nits). I learned the hard way that a blender won’t work in this case. So I use my ridiculous little prep processor and it works fine in batches. Add some oil. Not too much, but enough to bring it all together into a butter. I dunno. Eyeball it.  I had to make this three or four times before I got it exactly right.


The right oil

You like crunchy or creamy? Process until satisfied. My rule of thumb: One 3-minute song on the kitchen iPod gets it where I want it.

pulse first before adding oil


Make in batches and store in Tupperware

Now you’ve got warm, fresh, roasted cashewnut butter. The store bought cost about $7 and tastes OK. Makes a decent CB and J. The raw cashews cost about $6.50 plus some oil plus some time and effort. So let’s call it even.

Which is better? The store bought stuff or the homemade?

You have to ask?

No comparison. It annoys me when the foodies are right.

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