yes, i had a different recipe planned to share with you today and yes, i feel a little bit sheepish posting a recipe that has exactly one ingredient but i made another batch of homemade pecan butter over the weekend to photograph in a brief period of sun before we return to that whole ‘april showers…’ thing and i just can’t bear the thought that there might be someone out there, someone like me, who, until recently, just never thought to put pecans in the food processor and create the most perfect food there ever once was.
(things that are not perfect: the length of that paragraph sentence.)
somehow, despite the fact that if you pause in the peanut butter and jelly aisle of the store, you will quickly see that we are blending up just about any nut there is and then some (hi, peanut/almond/cashew/sunflower seed butter!), it never occurred to me to put what is a lead contender for “my favorite nut” into the food processor.
and i’ve even made my own almond butter (holy racket! wear earplugs for that one…), so it’s not like i never thought to make my own nut butter. i just never thought to make *pecan* butter.
::sigh:: all these years… i won’t say they were wasted, but they definitely would have been enhanced by the presence of homemade pecan butter.
in fact, i would even go so far as to say that just about the only thing *not* enhanced by homemade pecan butter is your car’s upholstery. that is to say, because of the high fat content of pecans (87% fat, compared to 73% for peanuts or 72% for almonds – thank you to the vegetarian flavor bible for those stats), homemade pecan butter is drippy.
this means that a great way to enjoy it is poured into a little dish that you can dip apple slices in while sitting at your kitchen table. a not great way to enjoy it would be dripping off your toast onto your lap in the car on the way to work. those of you with young kids, i won’t judge if you don’t share your homemade pecan butter with them/their second outfit of the day/your walls/your sofa…
i hope that doesn’t scare you off from making it, though, because it’s just so good! and suuuper simple! seriously, step one: put pecans in the food processor and turn on, step two: enjoy the most delicious thing ever. making homemade pecan butter is way quieter than making homemade almond butter, since pecans are much softer than almonds. it also means it processes more quickly and definitely does not need any additional oil.
and finally, i’ve tried making homemade pecan butter with both raw and toasted pecans. they both work perfectly so it’s completely a matter of personal preference. i generally prefer the flavor of toasted pecans, so i liked that version a little bit more, but they are both delicious.
just make sure your pecans are fresh (by which i mean, not rancid – they don’t have to be fancy special fresh, just not actively bad). i like to buy nuts, including pecans, at trader joe’s and costco, because their nuts are cheap and consistently fresh, but the bulk bin at a grocery store with decent product turnover is another solid option. i steer clear of those tiny, expensive baggies of nuts in the baking aisle. assuming you start with fresh pecans, homemade pecan butter will last at least a few weeks in the refrigerator. i am just finishing up a jar that i made two months ago, for what that’s worth.
alright friends, that’s more than enough information to make it seem complicated but really, it’s so simple. and, did i mention, totally delicious?
- 2 cups (206 g. / 7 ¼ oz.) pecan halves
- optional (extra yummy version): preheat oven to 350° F. spread the pecans out on a rimmed baking sheet. bake for 8 – 10 minutes, tossing halfway through. the second you smell the pecans, remove them from the oven. they will keep cooking a bit once they are out of the oven and once you can smell them, they tip over into burnt very quickly. let the nuts cool before proceeding to the next step.
- put the nuts in a food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment or a high speed blender. i haven’t tried this in a “regular” blender (like the one i used to have) but imagine that at least with pecans, which are pretty soft, it would work ok but not great. between the food processor and the high speed blender, i like the food processor because it’s much easier (read: remotely possible) to get every last bit of pecan butter goodness out of the container.
- whatever you’re using, hit ‘go’ and let the machine run until the pecan butter is flowing smoothly. you’ll probably have to stop the machine to scrape down the sides a few times. the nuts will first turn to a coarse meal, then more like flour, then a big ball of dough, and then finally smooth pecan butter (keep running the machine until it’s as smooth as you like). in my machine, it took about 2 – 3 minutes of machine run time to get a smooth pecan butter.
- transfer to an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator. homemade pecan butter will last several weeks, at least. i haven’t kept a jar longer than 2 months (because, yum), so if you do, use your judgment when you open it. but i suspect you may not have a chance to find out either…
nutrition facts are for 1 tablespoon of pecan butter
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