This is one of those posts where I need you to look at me (figuratively speaking), and not the photos. While I am somewhat bombarding you with a fair number of images showcasing today’s recipe, I’m also aware of the fact that this recipe doesn’t translate well on screen.
It’s like how Pride and Prejudice is a wonderful piece of literature on the page but, once thrown onto a movie screen with Keira Knightley in the lead role, all the beauty, subtlety, and satire of Jane Austen’s words are torn asunder in favour of a giggly idiocy.
Except that what we have here isn’t a work of literature but a work of deliciousness; today’s recipe is a homemade nut butter that, in photos, looks humdrum-bordering-on-icky, and yet in reality is one of the most complex, rich, full-flavoured, gorgeous, and addictive treats I’ve yet conjured up.
I can pinpoint two areas of inspiration for this Sultry Cashew Fig Nut Butter. The first inspiration is quite general, encompassing the fun I’ve had making maple macadamia butter and walnut coconut butter. The second inspiration is more specific. Do you remember my absolute favourite homemade granola recipe, my Tall Dark and Handsome Molasses Fig Granola?
Well, yesterday I decided to take that granola and rework it into a nut butter.
Reader, I married the flavours.
After all, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single girl in possession of a spoon must be in want of a nut butter.
And lo! What a nut butter this is. Roasted cashews, dried figs, molasses, roasted sesame oil, cinnamon… just try and tell me you don’t want an entire jar to yourself right now.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a spoon to attend to.
Homemade Cashew, Fig, and Molasses Nut Butter Oh Yes Indeedy
- 1 1/2 cups cashews
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp blackstrap molasses
- 1/3 cup dried figs
- pinch of sea salt, chopped
- olive oil, as needed
1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Spread cashews on a baking tray and roast for 6-8 minutes. When I pulled mine out of the oven, some of the cashews were deeply browned (read: near burnt) and some looked as raw as the day they were born. Dear oven: you are ornery.
2. Tip the cashews into a food processor and process (stopping the machine to scrape the bowl if the ground cashews stick to the sides), until the nuts start to become buttery. Add the sesame oil fairly early on, as this will help the nuts butterize (I like that word, even if it isn’t real).
3. Add the dried figs, cinnamon, molasses, and salt. Continue processing, scraping the sides periodically. Add in extra oil as needed, until your nut butter reaches the consistency of your liking. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, forever and ever until you want to marry it amen.
Note: I’ve seen other bloggers achieve an ultra smooth and “drippy” consistency when making nut butter, so I know it’s possible. However, this nut butter of mine never reached such a state, and while I quite like having a deeply rich, more-solid-than-liquid, scoopable nut butter, I do have a few theories as to why mine never become super creamy:
1. The food processor I used wasn’t very powerful.
2. The ratio of fruit to nuts might have been too high for the butteriness of the nuts to conquer the solidity of the fruit. Soaking the figs, or adding fewer figs, might help. But who wants to add fewer figs?
3. I could have processed the nut butter for longer, but ultimately it came down to a decision between staying in my kitchen with the nut butter or leaving for my coffee date with a friend. The friend won.
4. The nut butter consistency gods weren’t on my side. However, the nut butter tastiness gods were, and so I shan’t complain. Because, ultimately, this nut butter was the best of times, and it was the best of times*.
*Three paraphrased classic novel quotes in one post! I’m on a roll.