Most chocolate spreads in the supermarket have two problems: (i) they contain milk; and (ii) most chocolate spreads contain hazelnuts – this one probably isn’t a problem for everyone but I don’t like hazelnuts. All other nuts are ok by me, but I have never come to terms with hazelnuts. So I thought I’d try making a nut butter chocolate spread with less sugar and less hazelnuts than the supermarket varieties, and without the dairy. There are plenty of other nuts out there that can be made into delicious nut butters, so that was my starting point.
I tried cashews, brazil nuts and peanuts. For the mildest nut flavour, go for cashews. These provide a creamy consistency without an overpowering flavour. Brazil nuts and peanuts, on the other hand, are pretty distinctive and you can taste them through the chocolate.
Next came the chocolate. I tried cocoa, raw cacao and melted dark chocolate. Using melted dark chocolate gives a smoother consistency although cocoa powder / raw cacao can give a more intense chocolatey flavour.
The final step is the sweeter option. One of the aims of the Chocolate Nut Butter Experiment was to come up with something lower in sugar than the usual stuff in the shops. Agave syrup is a good option for this. It’s very sweet so you don’t need to use too much. However, if you are making your spread with melted chocolate, you are likely to need a dry sugar or you will end up with a chocolate / nut sauce rather than a spread.
Of the five I tried, I’d try the following three again:
1. Cashew Nut Chocolate Butter: Put 100g cashew nuts in a food processor and blitz until the mixture starts to come together with a butter consistency. Add 2 tbsp caster sugar, 50g melted dark chocolate (I used 85%) and 2 tsp cocoa powder. Continue to blitz in the food processor until it forms a smooth consistency. Adjust sugar levels to taste. If you are struggling to achieve a smooth consistency, try adding a drop of mild-flavoured oil such as rice bran oil.
2. Salted Peanut Chocolate Butter: This one is not for everyone. I’m a big fan of the salty-sweet contrast in food but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Put 100g salted peanuts in a food processor and blitz until the mixture starts to come together in a butter consistency. Add 2 tsp rice bran oil, 2 tbsp caster sugar and 6 tsp cocoa powder. Blend until smooth. Adjust sweetness to taste.
3. Brazil Nut Chocolate Butter: Blitz 100g brazil nuts in a food processor. Add 50g melted chocolate and 2 tbsp caster sugar. Blend until smooth. Poor into a jar and refrigerate to set.