This recipe is one of my favourites- as it is sweet & filling, but has no added sugar or anything unhealthy in it. The homemade cashew butter is so easy, much tastier than anything shop bought, and because it’s made at home you know it doesn’t contain heaps of sugar. I’ve noticed an influx of different types of butters (I feel the name ‘nut butters’ may not be appropriate!) in the shops (Hazelnut, 3 nut, cashew etc.) but it’s very easy and much cheaper to make your own at home.
My Granny used to make stuffed dates for us on numerous occasions- hers would always be stuffed with homemade marzipan and some kind of nuts for topping- similar to this one, but this one is without the marzipan, and with some tasty cashew butter instead- which is sugar free & full of protein.
There aren’t many ingredients required for this recipe, as it’s such a simple one. It is worth stating that the amount of cashews I’ve suggested will make a small jar of cashew butter- so you will have enough to make this recipe multiple times. You will also therefore need an empty jar (with lid) for storing your cashew butter. This jar should be extremely clean & sterilised, as any residue in the jar will encourage the growth of bacteria- which is obviously not desirable!
So you will need:
4-5 Medjool Dates (Morrisons are my favourite)
200g Cashew Nuts (Makes more than needed)
Handful of hazelnuts
*Optional- Walnut Oil if Cashew butter is difficult to blend.
The first step is to toast your cashews. I set the oven to 180°c, as although it’s very hot, you spend less time waiting around for them to toast! Once your oven is hot, pop in the cashews for about 1 minute- watching them like a hawk! These things burn extremely fast, so keep an eye on them at all times. After a minute, depending on your oven, take them out and shuffle them about with a spoon, so all all the sides get equal cooking. Then keep toasting them for 1 minute intervals until their done. They won’t turn brown but may look very slightly darker. The best way to find out is of course to taste one. If it tastes creamy and rich without the raw taste then it’s done. Repeat the process with the hazelnuts- which should have a distinct toasted hazelnut flavour when their cooked.
My favourite part is next- making the cashew butter! Load your cashews into the blender of your choice. I used a ‘bullet’ type blender, (one I got for Christmas, and am so far loving- thanks guys!) and it worked well. I would say the optimum blender would be a solid food processor. You must have a blender that is quite sturdy for this- one way of telling is if it can blend ice easily. Hand blenders are not recommended for this as they generally can’t cope (from my own experience using them).
When blending you will have to scrape down the sides of your blender a lot, and keep mixing it when scraping to ensure there are no stray cashews trying to escape being blended. The first step is this cashew ‘dust’ and then eventually it starts to come together as it blends further.
I have made cashew butter a number of times, and sometimes it will blend into a smooth paste no problem, but other times it needs help to blend. If your cashews aren’t blending into a paste you can add a small amount of walnut oil- or any oil you prefer (eg. Coconut) just not olive oil (for taste reasons).
I added approx. 1.5 teaspoons of walnut oil to my cashew butter to help the blending process.
Once the cashew butter is made, it is simply a case of chopping the roasted hazelnuts (or leave some whole if preferred) and slicing the dates to be stuffed.
Then fill the dates with your cashew butter, top with the hazelnuts and eat!