Posts Tagged ‘spreads’

Home-made Nutella

This all began when I decided to make Ria Collection Cupcakes with Isaac. He is the only child who would not be reduced to tears if I mashed up an avocado into the cupcake mixture. Not that the girls don’t like avocado’s- they love them. But not in the context of a chocolate cupcake. They’ll get there one day, I’m sure ¬†ūüôā

Recipe: Follow this link here: Ria’s Collection Blogspot


  • I used the blender to whizz the avocado and sugar and water, rather than just mash with a fork. Mmmmm, sweet silky green stuff. It was delicious!
  • I used spelt flour which is “lighter” than wholewheat flour.
  • The recipe called for 1t bicarb of soda and 1t baking powder, and I accidentally used 1t bicarb of soda, and 1t arrowroot. Always read the label.

Verdict: Could have done with being a little more chocolatey, and possibly sweeter – for me it was fine, not sure if most kids would approve, but maybe with some chocolate chips thrown in, they would. Texture: very light and moist, despite my raising agent mess-up.

Raising agent impoverished muffins

And so it went that I felt they needed a little frosting.

And so it was that I remembered that my husband had recently asked me to make him some “healthier Nutella” (Spanish readers: Nocilla) and that was why I had a bag of hazelnuts in the cupboard.

And so it was that as Isaac boogied to his Spanish singalong DVD “Cantajuegos” I whipped up some healthier Nutella.

Note: Nutella ingredients goes like this: Sugar. Vegetable oil. Hazelnuts (*veryverysmall*%)  A few other additions

I figured that A. would not approve of a low-fat version using only the natural oils from the hazelnuts. I was shooting for easily spreadable. I also figured honey would give it too strong a flavour that would mask the hazelnuts, so I opted for using roasted hazelnuts, walnut oil, and Sucanat.¬† (Sucanat is made from sugar cane that has been squeezed of all it’s juice, and the juice is then gently dehydrated. If used as-is, it is supposed to have most of the minerals of the original plant. It has a kind of deep caramelly flavour. You can buy it in some health food shops)

There are many different ways you could do this, and I was more trying to imitate the shop taste, rather than do a super-duper highly-healthy spread. Though this is definitely healthier than the shop version.

  • Dry roast 100grams (1 cup) of hazelnuts in a frying pan.
  • Rub the roasted nuts between your palms to remove any bits of flaky skin (eeeeeeuw. Bad choice of words! Moving on..!!)
  • Process in your mini chopper until you have a nut butter (Note: I cheated. My chopper was smoking. It was almost there, but I decided to just put the oil in, hence slightly grainy texture)
  • Add 1 T of unsweetened cocoa powder (Oh no! Or was it 1/2Tablespoon? How did I not write this down? Start with half, process with the sugar and oil, and taste-test)
  • Add 4T of mild-tasting oil
  • Add 4T sugar.
  • Process again. ¬†(Note: I tasted after 3T and for me it was sweet enough, but I pushed the boat out. It was Friday)
  • Admire your handiwork.

A little grainy, and possibly (?!) a tad oily… but with only 3 ingredients, made at home in 15 minutes, a considerably higher percentage of hazelnuts than 13%, ¬†and pretty darned tasty, thank you.


Spread on a split banana, or spelt pancakes, or swirl it into banana soft-serve, or on crackers….Enjoy! It is SO GOOD.

Atop aforementioned vegan muffin

Sunflower Seed Butter

I love Mother Nature’s “butters” to be found in nuts and seeds, via a trusty Mini Chopper, or food processor. I have posted instructions for Cashew, almond Nut butter, pistachio nut butter, sesame (tahini)¬†and macadamias,…..but truthfully, all you need to know is this:

  • Don’t Soak your nuts
  • Can be made with unroasted nuts (this is how I do it) or by first lightly dry-toasting them in a non stick pan (Oils will be released more quickly if roasted)
  • Make sure your machine is very full, or once they process down a little, the blades will struggle to catch hold of the mixture
  • Be patient, and ready to stop and scrape the sides down periodically. Depending on type of nut/seed, you will need to process between 3-10 minutes.
  • If you are almost-but-not-quite there, you can cheat by adding a small amount of quality mild-tasting oil
  • Don’t add any liquid sweetener (if desired) until the end or it won’t work.

With these pointers you can make any kind you like: walnut butter, pumpkin seed butter, pecan nut butter, etc etc for a fraction of the price, less than 15 minutes work (washing up included) and with the added advantage of being able to do it unroasted (if desired) for maximum nutritional goodies.

For my sunflower seed butter, I did roast them first as I thought A. would enjoy it better like that, making it more similar to his beloved peanut butter. It is not altogether dissimilar to be honest.


  • Dry toast 200grams of sunflower seeds in a dry non stick pan. Do it in batches if your pan is small. Stir/shake very frequently to avoid burning
  • Food process until oils are released. Okay I cheated with a tablespoon of oil at the end. Just trying to eke more life out of my machine.
  • I added 1/2 t salt at the beginning. I did not sweeten it- you choose.

I can confirm that this is GORGEOUS with mashed banana on sesame ryvita. I think it would be a lovely savoury based dip for celery and carrots too (whizzed with some tamari/soy sauce, and some other things…?)


If you do this with UNroasted seeds, which I will try very soon (and add a PS on this post) it will not be a toasty-brown colour. Rather, a clay-like gray. Do not let this put you off (think- mushrooms!) but I just thought I would mention it.

McHealthy chocolate spread

McHealthy, as in¬†MacHealthy, as in Macadamia Nut Healthy Chocolate spread: CHILD APPROVED! (in my house anyway ūüôā )

I know Macadamia nuts are a little pricey, though if you look around you will find places that they are more affordable than others. Currently Tesco charge ¬£2 for 100g of unroasted mac. nuts, and in Asda they cost¬† ¬£2.72 for 150grams which works out a little better. Everywhere else I have seen they are a little untouchable. Yes, a little expensive, but so worth it for a bit of whole-food decadence. (I have also found that as you stop buying certain items at the supermarket, that you have all this extra budget leftover for things like…macadamia nuts, extra melons, extra berries, more organic produce, and so on.)

We used this to spread on wholewheat pancakes; the idea was to droozle it over the pancakes and raspberries but it came out a little thick for droozling. It would also be a good dipping sauce for a fruit fondue.

Thinned down with a milk alternative it could be a sauce for banana softserve ice cream, though you may have to add more sweetness/cocoa. (Note: in a regular sized food processor you would probably have to double up) It simply consists of:

  • 50g macadamia nuts, whizzed until buttery in your mini chopper (2-3 minutes approximately) and then add:
  • 3 teaspoons honey or liquid sweetener of choice (maple syrup,rice syrup, agave nectar, whatever you use)
  • 2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, and whizz until smooth and creamy consistency.

Spread, eat, and rejoice.

Pistachio Nut Butter

Wow. I am so happy I did this! I only made a small amount so I would have some more of my pistachios for something else, but I wanted to try it. I have done a few different nut butters: ¬†almond, cashew, macadamia. I will also try some seed butters one day, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, etc Mmmm, pecan nut butter, I bet that’s nice…..

You can spread them on bread or crackers as is, use them as a luxury dip for your veggies, add some herbs and what-have-you to make a kind of savoury spread, you can bake with them instead of saturated animals fats, you can make caramel sauces with them by adding plump ripe dates and/or maple syrup…….

You need a food processor, and depending on the size of your machine you may need to use more nuts than I did. Mine is a mini chopper and I only used 1/2 a cup of nuts. Just process until it becomes like a spread. Easy!

What a lovely, alternative spread for your wholewheat toast that also happens to be packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats! Mine was a savoury spread (2 small pinches of salt) You could top with chopped tomato or some alfalfa sprouts. Or you could add honey and make it a sweet spread.

My photo is pretty lame, but here it is anyway.¬† I think maybe mine needed a little longer processing for the release of the oils, it looks a touch dry…but I was getting impatient. Also, you could add the tiniest bit of¬†oil to make it smoother (e.g. walnut oil, almond oil, sunflower oil) By the way, the green was even prettier in real life.¬†And I should have spread to the edges. Okay, I will stop apologising for the appearance, but seriously- it tasted GOOD!

Behold! Pistachios on Toast.

Have a great day. Right here, it’s raining. Hooray for rain, it brings forth the plants! ¬†Go and eat some plants and be thankful for the rain.

Make your own Cashew Butter! And SO easy. You need a food processor for this. I use my trusty Kenwood mini chopper. Goodness; where would I be without it? My husband bought me a Russell Hobbs Mini Food Processor a while back. I missed my mini chopper dreadfully. I was secretly so happy when Russell broke within a month.

Take 100grams of cashews; about¬†one measuring cupfull.¬†the unroasted kind, of course. The lovely little white moon-shaped wonders, just as they are. Insert into mini chopper or food processor.DO NOT SOAK THEM.¬†(If you are using a larger food processor, you may need to make 2 cups. Don’t worry. It will all be eaten!)

Just turn on the machine and leave. It should take around 7-8 minutes, ’tis all. Much as I love my Kenwood, the one disadvantage is that you have to keep the button pressed down manually, so I had to stand there for 7 minutes, but that’s alright. It will turn from powder, to wetter looking “meal”. You may need to stop periodically and give it a mix around.¬†Just keep on processing and¬†eventually, the nuts will release their natural oils and¬†it will become this heavenly¬† creamy white spread.

Do you know how much it costs to buy this??

Despite the instructions above, there is only HALF A CUP of cashews in this photo. You can do this with any nut and seed, by the way. Some take longer than others. Macadamia Nut butter is quite quick to make, it being a fatty, soft nut. Almond takes longer; 10-12 minutes.

¬†There is a very useful photo step-by-step guide for making almond butter here. If you wish to add a pinch of salt, or some honey, do so at the end. What can you do with this? Well let’s see….

  • Eat it as is, on ryvita or your choice of wholesome bread/cracker.
  • Add the juice of half a lemon, a little water. some garlic and onion powder, fresh or dried herbs, and use as a scrumptious creamy nut-cheese or dip.
  • Make amazing healthy, nurturing chocolate ice cream, thank you Karen Knowler!
  • Or make some yummy caramel sauce to dip apples or banana into, by whizzing up nut butter, soft dates (and a touch of maple syrup if you have a very sweet touch)¬†to top the amazing raw wholefood ice cream recipes that I will post up shortly.¬†¬†

I just love what fantastic things you can do with raw plants!! To your health!!!

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