peanut butter and jelly

What a relief that nuts have been officially cleared of their high-fat dietary stigma! Back in the day, we were led to believe that consuming them in their raw, roasted, chopped and pureed forms was a recipe for waistline disaster, which made indulging in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich a ridiculously guilt-laden affair. Fortunately, we now have a better understanding of the difference between good fat and bad fat. In the last several years, the tide has really turned in favor of Mother Nature’s edible dry fruit kernels now that their cholesterol-reducing, heart-boosting, vitamin and antioxidant-packed properties have come to light. Of course, their diverse flavor profile pretty much seals the deal, but the fact that they supply the human body with one of the most valuable sources of plant-based protein elevates them to superstar status among vegetarians, exercise enthusiasts, all-around gourmands and everyone in between.

If you haven’t really taken the time to explore the great pleasure of nut butters, oh… you’re in for a real treat, but instead of pulling out a notepad to jot down the top rated brands, how about zeroing in on a few recipes instead? That’s right… for fresh, easily spreadable, do-it-yourself pureed nuts-n-seasonings. Skippy, Jif and their nutty compadres really appreciate your continued patronage, but considering how positively simple it is to make nut butter from scratch, why aren’t more of us doing it? If you have a food processor or blender, you really owe it to yourself to go nuts with the following gourmet-inspired recipes!

CINNAMON RAISIN PEANUT BUTTER 

Oh sweet lord. When savory peanut butter romances sundried raisins and a touch of cinnamon, the result is this glorious treat which tricks your brain into thinking that you’re sinning when in fact you’re merely just doing your body all sorts of good. One caveat to beware of – since conventionally-grown peanuts tend to be liberally sprayed with petroleum-based pesticides and herbicides, do your body a solid by making your peanut of choice organically grown.

CHOCOLATE COCONUT CASHEW BUTTER

It doesn’t get any better than thisfor pure indulgence with very little guilt – soaked raw cashew nuts blended with coconut flakes, coconut oil, cocoa powder, a splash of natural sweetener, a little vanilla and a dash of cinnamon. All the ingredients magically come together to form a silky-looking confection with a Nutella like consistency, absent of hydrogenated oils but brimming with plenty of hell-to-the-yeah flavor. Your strawberries and salt-studded whole grain pretzels are begging you to make this recipe right now!

SPICED ALMOND BUTTER 

No, this isn’t at all like the stuff that you’d buy at your natural grocer in a tidy little glass jar. Sure, that version is perfectly palatable, but this one really rocks. If you’re a huge fan of savory, earthy, body-warming spices like chili peppers, cumin and cinnamon (all of which work antioxidant wonders in the body), then this stellar almond butter recipe has your name written all over it.

SUNFLOWER SEED BUTTER 

For those with nut allergies, we feel your pain. What a bummer… all of these great recipes to choose from and you simply cannot run the risk of indulging. But sunflower seeds, on the other hand? Total green light situation, and with their high levels of cancer-preventing selenium and blood cholesterol-lowering phytosterols, it’s no wonder why they’ve become the darling of the alterni-nut butter set. When roasted and tossed in a food processor with a dash of salt, the spreadable sensation that emerges is positively addictive.

WHITE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER 

Had a hard day at work? Then this recipe just might turn that frown completely upside down. First, process some roasted peanuts along with melted cocoa butter, powdered milk, vanilla whey protein powder and some genuine vanilla extract. Add salt and a bit of sweetener to taste and you’ll end up with a spoon-dipping delight that will leave that pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the dust (or maybe you’ll just want to drizzle your freshly prepared white chocolate peanut butter right on top).

Image: hiwarz

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