Thursday, 14 March 2013


I have a confession to make: I am mildly obsessed with homemade nut butter.

Of all the ways in which my palette and food choices have changed in the past year, this love affair with nut butter is among the most mind-boggling.  When my nine year-old self marched home to my parents one afternoon in the mid-1990s and defiantly declared that I was becoming a vegetarian (a decision that I had made as a fool-proof solution to being forced to eat so many of the foods I detested, like pre-packaged, thinly sliced sandwich meats and microwave-ready fish sticks), my father's response was: "That's fine, but you have to eat fish because you won't eat nuts and you need your protein."  I uncompromisingly hated nuts for most of my life; I wouldn't touch anything that they touched.  The sole exception was peanut butter (the horribly processed variety, of course); but even then, I wouldn't go near the chunky kind.  And natural peanut butter?  No way.  If it wasn't impeccably smooth and so artificially sweetened that it no longer resembled anything remotely peanut-like, I wasn't having it.  

It wasn't until I moved to the UK 18 months ago that I realized alternative, non-peanut nut butters even existed.  It wasn't until I discovered Edible Perspective's recipe for Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter Cups that I wanted to try to make it at home.  And it wasn't until I finally got a food processor that I was able to.  (Yeah, for those of you who don't have one, I'm truly sorry about that.  Mine is seriously well-loved and one of the best object-based investments I have made in a very long time.)

Nut Butter: DIY Empowerment

The first time I homemade nut butter, I was utterly transfixed by the transformation that the nuts naturally underwent, with the aid of nothing but a quickly spinning blade: from whole nut to finely-ground-powder to congealed-gloop-nut-ball to--SPLAT!--butter.  The way the nuts decompose, their natural oils releasing and completely altering their physical composition, is truly astounding.  Homemaking nut butter is so easy and so genuinely exciting.  There is something uniquely gratifying about producing a foodstuff yourself that you have only ever conceived of as coming jarred from the shelf of a market.  It is bizarrely empowering.  I cannot even tell you how accomplished I felt after that very first batch.  Not only had I made nut butter--from scratch!--but it tasted seriously unbelievable.  And now?  I'm addicted.

The amazing thing about homemaking nut butter, aside from the feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge/control of the exact quality and quantity of your ingredients, is that you can experiment with mix-ins.  I have made most of my batches following the ideas and recipes of other bloggers: Coconut Almond Butter, Chai Spice, Maple Cinnamon.  But this Rosemary-Honey Cashew Butter?  This one is all mine.  My very first nut butter recipe.  And I couldn't be more proud or more excited to share it with you.  Because, if I may gloat for just a minute, it is astonishingly delicious.

I do realize that cashews are not cheap.  They are a bit of a luxury item.  But puréed into a silky smooth spread, laced with aromatic rosemary, sweet honey and a touch of sea salt, this cashew butter is beyond luxurious.  Seriously.  When I gave a spoonful to my housemate to taste, she stared at me in silence and then told me that I 'had to' start selling it commercially.  Who knows, maybe that endeavor will happen a bit down the line.  But for now? I'm happy just to share the recipe with you.  And maybe--hopefully--you'll be inspired to make it on your own.

P.S.  It goes without saying that cashews are great for your body.  One of the lowest-fat nuts, cashews contain a significant amount of monounsaturated fats (75% of which is oleic acid, the same as in olive oil), making them an excellent supporter of cardiovascular health.  Cashews are also extremely high in copper, which helps prevent such issues as anemia and osteoporosis, and magnesium, which works alongside calcium to maintain healthy bones.*

*Information from World's Healthiest Foods.

Rosemary-Honey Cashew Butter

Makes about 3/8 cup.  If you have a 7 cup food processor or larger, I encourage you to double the recipe. 

1 cup (170 grams) raw cashews
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. good quality salt (sea salt or otherwise; I used pink Himalayan salt, which is totally amazing if you can get your hands on it)
1/2 tsp. cold-pressed neutral oil (sunflower or otherwise)


1.  Preheat oven to 300°F / 150°C / Gas 2.
2.  Spread cashews on a baking tray and roast for 15-20 minutes, until fragrant.  Stir a few times during roasting.
3.  Let cool for 5 minutes.
4.  Place cashews in food processor and blend until the nuts turn into a smooth 'butter'.  This could take anywhere from 5-15 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5.  Add rosemary and salt and process for another minute or two.
6.  Microwave honey until it is completely liquefied--much thinner than its syrupy state.  Add to nut butter and process for another minute until fully combined.
7.  If you want your cashew butter even creamier, add the 1/2 tsp. of a neutral oil.
8.  Remove blade from food processor, transfer to a glass jar and store in the fridge.


  1. Oh my gosh. I bet this would be amazing on a baked sweet potato!!

  2. Hi Ashley! :) Thanks so much for checking out my link and commenting! Yes - such a good idea. I was trying to figure out what this would compliment well (as I only got as far as eating it directly from the jar, haha). My initial thought was something a bit savory like a dark rye bread, but I bet it would pair beautifully with sweet potato.

  3. GUH! Looks gorgeous Mere. Thanks for sharing this inspired combination of flavours with us!
    xox, Sarah B

    1. My pleasure! Glad the inspiration is becoming reciprocal ;o).

  4. This combination of flavors sounds incredible! I love rosemary in sweets. I tried making cashew butter the other day, before I saw this post, but the mixture broke and never smoothed out. I thought this was due to adding to many other ingredients (maple syrup and coconut oil). But after reading this post, I'm wondering if I should have kept going? Does the mixture tend to seize up and leak out liquid fat before re-emulsifying? Thanks for this lovely post. :)

    1. Hi Alanna! I've had a couple experiences trying to make almond butter where the nuts never went past the ground state and into the oil-releasing, buttery state (which is beyond maddening and I haven't quite figured out why it wouldn't turn). If you add maple syrup, I would coat the nuts in it and roast them at a moderate heat until the syrup crystalizes before processing the nuts rather than putting the liquid syrup into the processor; same with the oil. If you want to add liquids, add them at the end, after the nuts have already turned to butter. I'm not sure about 'leaking out liquid fat', but the mixture will release oils gradually and usually seizes a bit and turns into a congealed ball that rolls around the food processor before it turns to delicious butter. I hope that's helpful!