California Walnut Butter

California Walnut Butter

Walnut butter is easy to make, and offers a variety of convenient applications. Spread on crostini and garnish with a slice of fruit or fresh herbs for an elegant appetizer, or use it as a dip for crisp vegetables for a quick snack.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups California walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons walnut or vegetable oil (or as needed)

Optional, to taste

  • A little honey
  • A little cinnamon

Directions

You can make walnut butter using raw, soaked or toasted walnuts. Here's how to do all three, and why they're different.

Raw walnuts

Use raw walnuts for a very creamy and smooth texture that tastes like a just-shelled walnut.

Soaked walnuts

This method will remove some of the tannin from the walnut skin, and offer a more textured walnut butter. Soak walnuts overnight, drain and discard the water. Then, toast the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350° F for up to 15 minutes to dry them out (don't let them get dark!). Cool the walnuts before making them into butter.

Toasted walnuts

To enhance the sweet, nutty flavor of walnuts, toast them before making them into butter. Walnut butter with toasted walnuts will provide a coarse textured finished product. Toast walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350° F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Cool the walnuts before making them into butter.

To make the butter

Make walnut butter by putting the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and grinding them until they become sticky or paste-like. Add the salt. Add the oil, a little bit at a time until the walnut butter binds together. If you like, add small touches of honey and/or cinnamon to taste.