This is a short post. For reals! I’m doing my best to write that Keto ebook I promised the hundreds of you (I kid…it’s like 3 of you and 1 of you may be my mom). But hey! I hold to my promises even if they take a long time. So this is a quick, short post about nut butters so I can get back to that.
Here’s the deal…
Since my nutritional journey started a couple months back, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to make a lot of the things I love in a keto-friendly version. It’s a slow effort. Took me a couple months to try out some keto pizzas but I found one I like and now that’s definitely in the rotation. But sometimes I just make exceptions for foods where I think “No. This is perfect the way it is. No need to ruin a good thing. Just treat it like a treat.”
But yesterday, as I got done unpacking everything from our recent Wisconsin Dells trip, I sat down with a jar of Justin’s Hazelnut Butter and I picked up my spoon and dug in. Yes, I’m fully aware that even 2 tablespoons of this deliciousness is 9 grams of NET carbs. I’m also fully aware that I probably ate 30 grams of NET carbs in one sitting and then proceeded to think about what I could eat that would be zero carb the rest of the day.
But that’s when I finally thought – why do I do this? I know there is cane sugar in this bad boy. If I just made a version of this myself, I could easily make this low carb PLUS reap all the benefits of fueling my body with delicious nuts. So that’s when I decided that yesterday was a nut butter day.
So, I did what I always do – look for a couple recipes that hit on the ingredients I think should go into this and then be realistic when I look in my cupboard and modify it some more.
The recipe I found claimed to be the “organic, keto nutella of my dreams” (maybe I’m paraphrasing). So I started there.
It called for walnuts and hazelnuts. I had walnuts, cashews and pecans. Close enough! It also called for erythritol and cacao powder – two things I also had. Or…thought I had.
Here’s where things go wrong – part 1
For this recipe, you’re supposed to roast the nuts. Easy peezy…I thought. I laid all my long forgotten nuts on the pan and set the oven to 400. I say long forgotten because that was also the appeal of this recipe – using up a ton of nuts I had gotten for other recipes that were now going unused.
I put them in the oven, set the timer for 10 minutes – per the recipe – and walked away.
Hey guys – did you know that you should NOT cook pecans for 10 minutes at 400 degrees? Well now you know. Because of my improvisation with the pecans, I ended up screwing myself early on because pecans should really just be roasted for about 5 minutes…at 350 degrees…because they cook a lot faster than cashews and walnuts. DOH!
What does a burnt pecan smell like? Popcorn, actually.
But this did not deter me. I mean, it was probably still fine. I’d be adding cacao powder and sugar, surely that would cover up the slight burnt taste from one nut.
here’s where things keep going wrong – part 2
So, I was ready. Maybe my nuts were a little on the toasty side, but hey, it’s all in the name of science and experimentation. Onward and upward!
Next up – melting coconut oil and combining that with cacao powder and erytrhitol and then mixing everything together in a food processor.
I had….two of those three items. The erythritol got lost on the way back from the dells, much to my dismay. So here’s where I took a three hour break to plan out my meals for the week so I could make my grocery list and then hit up two grocery stores and then it was late so then I had to start dinner but once that was in the oven, I could FINALLY get back to my burnt popcorn-smelling nut butter.
So – after a four hour hiatus, I was back on the nut butter creation. First off – I was simply in awe of what my new food processor could do to nuts. SO COOL.
here’s where things keep going wrong – part 3
I measure out what I thought would be needed for cacao powder and erythritol knowing I might need to add more to mask the burnt flavor of the pecans. The first go around? Burnt nut butter taste. So I added more erythritol. Second go around. Burnt nut butter but now super sweet. So I added more cacao powder. Third go around? Sort of burnt nut butter that has a hint of chocolateyness. Good enough!
The end product was not great, but it was at a point where I was like – I could manage with this batch and then perfect the next batch I make. Calling it a day!
But that’s not where this story ends. Oh no.
here’s where things keep going wrong – part 4
You’re probably wondering, what’s left? For me, at this point, the last step is going back and actually calculating the nutrition facts. I never go off what someone else’s recipe says 1. Because we may use different brands of ingredients and 2. Especially in a case like this where I heavily modified it – my nutrition counts could be very different.
And this is where my mind was a bit blown. I looked up the nutrition value of all the nuts I used – the pecans and walnuts felt close to what I knew were in almonds. The cashews, though? Holy carb bomb!! I checked multiple sources on this because I just couldn’t believe that a nut could have such high carbs. But it was true. So basically, my low carb nut butter was completely sabotaged from the beginning when I decided to throw cashews in the mix. Granted, it’s still lower carb than Justin’s hazelnut butter, but not by much. And the taste is horrific in comparison. Why would I suffer through eating burnt nut butter when it’s not even low carb? The whole point of it is ruined!
So – word to the wise – don’t include cashews (or pistachios, I learned), in your nut butters if you’re on keto and trying to go low carb.
Today is a new day…
And today? I am going to make a new nut butter. This time, I might only use pecans because actually, they have the best macros for keto. But this time, I will not burn them. And it will be delicious. And then maybe I can share that recipe with you all. One can only hope.