Our story begins with the simple desire to add crushed nuts to my vanilla ice cream before settling in to watch The Culture High (the best documentary I've seen in quite a while, but I digress). At home I typically elect to crush whole nuts by placing them in a plastic baggy and pounding with a mallet, a technique no doubt adopted from my mom. I was forced to explore other options after finding my apartment in Barcelona lacking both the required implements. I found a wooden mortar and pestle and decided these the best option. I took out the raw almonds and macademia nuts, added a handful of each, and went to work.
The beginning was slow going. The fact of this being my first time wielding these instruments became immediately apparent. I should have added nuts only a few at a time to keep the large, unmanageable chunks to a minimum. Soon enough though I had a mixture of evenly-sized, but still relatively large pieces. I decided to see how fine a mixture I could create, quickly becoming obsessed. After 15 minutes of grinding I had an even nut meal. Realizing I could take it further, I decided to attempt to make nut butter by hand. I added about 1 tsp. of coconut oil and got back to grinding. After another 15 minutes I had a liquidy, paste that rivaled all the homemade nut butters I've ever made in a blender. Each arm throbbed from the task. I empathize with my Vitamix, who's 2-hp motor overheated when I made my first batch.
I was now way beyond the desired crushed nuts and into uncharted territory. Realizing that the small bit of dark chocolate I had would make this concoction truly epic, I quickly broke it into less than half inch pieces, added these to the mixture, and got back to grinding. A few pinches of sea salt and another 10 minutes later I had the most wonderful nut butter I've ever tasted.
It was clear to me that I needed to use this epic creation in a equally epic way. I created what can only be described as an ice cream sundae lasagna. I added a thinly shaved layer of vanilla ice cream to the bottom of a bowl. Next spread a thin layer of my nut butter, followed by a layer of thinly-sliced banana. Repeat. Another thin layer of ice cream, the rest of the nut butter, another layer of banana. Top with a final layer of ice cream (Note: using the reminder of the Haagen Dazs pint is not required but highly recommended).
Dark Chocolate, Almond, Macademia Nut Butter
- ~ 1/2 cup raw almonds
- ~ 1/2 cup raw macademia nuts
- 2 squares of Lindt 85% cacao dark chocolate
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1-2 pinches of sea salt (to taste)
I had as much fun writing this as I did creating and consuming the nut butter. Playfully embellished narrative proves a fun deviation from whatever my typical genre can be considered. Perhaps more to come.