Maple Cashew-Almond Butter: Three Ways

So... this is like what, my fifth dessert recipe in a row??


I mean, I guess you can consider this a dessert. It's more of a breakfast thing if you ask me, but it tastes just as heavenly as dessert does.


"It" as in all THREE recipes; dark chocolate dipped peanut butter stuffed caramels, chocolate almond butter, and raw caramel sauce/butter.

   

And all of them are incredibly delicious. I may be a little too obsessed with the caramels though...



Yes. I made chewy, sweet, sticky caramels out of raw nuts... and also by mistake. Originally, I was just making cashew-almond butter, but once I added the maple syrup in, the whole batch became this sticky chewy mess... AKA caramel. Right then and there, I knew I had to make some HEALTHY treats out of it.



I took a little out to experiment with, while I made the rest of my nut butter... and all of the sudden I had three different things going on. Well four, if you count the actual cashew-almond butter itself.
I actually didn't even end up with any of the plain nut butter itself.


So, if you haven't noticed yet, I'm obsessed with nut butters. Especially ones that are all sweet, with fun flavors. Thank you Justin's.
I rarely make homemade nut butter (unless it's homemade Nutella- I make that ALL the time), but when I do... I usually go all out.


"All out" meaning chocolate... Well, the majority of the time, at least.
This time, my "going all out" with chocolate means double chocolate chip espresso almond butter. It's practically candy. I eat it out of the jar like cookie dough, it's that good.

   



Okay, real quick about the caramels... These guys are so addicting!! I literally couldn't stop eating them, they were that delicious. After marveling over how insanely addictive and caramel-like the nut mixture was, something gave me the crazy idea to stuff nut butter caramels with MORE nut butter.
I told you I was obsessed...


 Of course, it was a must that I dunk mine in extra, extra dark chocolate because you all know I'm addicted, but any level of intensity or milk chocolate can be substituted. White chocolate would even be equally as delicious, especially with the coconut and maple syrup... Yeah, I'm definitely trying that next time I make these. Which will be VERY soon, by the way.

   

Obviously, with all the nut action going on in these guys, they taste well... super nutty! That's honestly the only main difference between them and traditional caramels. And the fact that they don't get stuck in your teeth, so it's a win/win for me!



The peanut butter I used is actually one that I picked up on my trip to Kona, Hawaii last week. Besides the to-die-for coffee, the best part about the trip was finding all sorts of local goodies! This coconut peanut butter being one of them...
If you didn't know, coconut + peanut butter is one of my all-time favorite combos. If you haven't tried it yet, you need to ASAP!!




The only ingredients in this are raw peanuts & coconut meat. That's it. And it's incredible. The texture is like Jif or Skippy or any other un-natural peanut butter company-- so not runny and oily at all! I seriously should've bought like every single jar, but now that I think about it, it might've been a little awkward trying to explain why I have 10 pounds of peanut butter stuffed in my already overweight suitcase to the people in the airport. It's probably a good thing I didn't blow all my money on food, anyways...


The point is, I'm in love with these "caramels".



And all the other recipes...
but mostly the caramels.









Maple Cashew-Almond Butter

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon
*1/4 cup coconut oil- not melted
*1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional- extra almond flavor)

*You may not need liquids/oil after blending it for 10 minutes, but if it isn't runny enough, add them. Store in fridge.

Blend nuts together in food processor until smooth (about 8-10 minutes). Add all other ingredients and pulse until combined and creamy.


Maple Cashew-Almond Butter "Caramel" Sauce

All ingredients for original recipe (above) minus the coconut oil
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tbs. maple syrup OR 4 pitted Medjool dates

After pulsing nuts for 5 minutes (or until smooth), add vanilla, salt, cinnamon, maple syrup AND additional maple syrup (if using maple syrup instead of dates), almond milk AND additional almond milk (should be 3/4 cup in the end), and any other flavorings (almond extract, etc.). Once combined, add more water or almond milk to liking. 
IF using dates: Blend 1/2 cup warm water with the dates until smooth. Strain and pour into the food processor with other ingredients instead of the additional maple syrup, and only use 1/2 cup almond milk total. It will thicken naturally if too thin.
Store in mason jar/airtight container.


Dark Chocolate Dipped Coconut Peanut Butter Stuffed Nut "Caramels"
Makes about 15 caramels

All ingredients for original recipe (minus the oil & almond milk)
1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 tbs. coconut oil
2 tbs. maple syrup (any liquid sweeter; agave, honey, coconut nectar, etc.)
4-6 tbs. thick/creamy peanut butter- I used coconut peanut butter
3 tbs. shredded coconut 

Blend almonds & cashews together in food processor until forming a ball (about 3 minutes). Pour in maple syrup as it's still blending. Add in vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. The consistency should be sticky and chewy.
Take out and knead in hands a few times, then form into 3 balls. On wax paper, flatten out with hands, about 1/2 inch thick. Spread one half of each with 1 1/2 to 2 tbs. peanut butter, leaving about 1/2 inch border. Sprinkle 1 tbs. coconut over each round on the peanut butter side. Fold over the non-peanut butter/coconut side and seal the borders to make a pocket/empanada shape. Seal edges with a fork. Wrap each individually with wax paper and freeze for 20 minutes.
While freezing, melt the coconut oil and agave. Whisk in cocoa powder until a thickened fudge sauce like consistency. Add more coconut oil if too thick and more cocoa powder if too thin. 
Take caramels out and cut into rectangles, keeping the shorter ends sealed up. Dip 1 end in chocolate and place on wax paper. Set in freezer/fridge for 5-10 more minutes and eat immediately. 
Store in airtight container in fridge/freezer. If storing in freezer; allow 5-10 minutes to thaw before eating.


Double Chocolate Chip Espresso Cashew-Almond Butter

All ingredients for original recipe; Maple Cashew-Almond Butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbs. coconut sugar OR granulated sugar/brown sugar (add more 1 tbs. at a time if too bitter)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 tbs. espresso powder

Make cashew-almond butter as directed, but add the cocoa powder & espresso powder in with the nuts in the beginning. Add sugar and chocolate chips at end. Pulse until combined.
Store in airtight container or mason jar in fridge overnight.




XOXO 
Cecilia A.










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