I’ve been trying—honestly, I have. My quest to eat better breakfasts has been gaining momentum since January, and I’ve settled into a good routine of pairing my coffee with hot cereal on the slow days and blending up some oatmeal smoothies on the get-up-and-go days. But the elevenses are killing me.
It’s my damn salt tooth, I tell ya. I think it’s a late riser: it lies dormant for the first few hours of my morning, then blam!—around 10:30 am, it starts distracting me with thoughts of Cheez-Its and Fritos. Caving to the snack food demands of the salt tooth isn’t an option every morning (only some mornings), so I’ve been mollifying its wishes with miso instead. Namely, I’ve been chowing down on apples spread with a miso-and-Marcona-almond nut butter that definitely swings to the savory side of the spectrum.
Homemade nut butters are some of the best entry-level recipes for the budding cook: they lend themselves to experimentation with the variety of nuts and sweeteners available for mixing and matching, and you don’t need a high-powered blender to make them. (In fact, after almost killing my Vitamix with a few extra-chunky nut butters, I’ve quit using it for these and blend my nut butters exclusively in my food processor.)
Featuring a liberal amount of white miso combined with the oily, salty crunchiness of Marcona almonds (left over from my recent brunch venture, the scallop and bacon hash), this nut butter is a deeply satisfying change from the usual natural crunchy spreads. No doubt I’ll be tweaking this recipe again based on my ever-changing sweet-and-salty preferences, but right now this is the way I’m digging it. Feel free to switch it up based on your mood: add more miso if you’re into a salty spread, or try barley malt syrup in place of maple syrup for a roastier taste.
Though I’ve mostly been acquainting myself with an orchard’s worth of apples (Kiku! Honeycrisp! Braeburn!) as I pursue my ideal nut butter, I can think of a bushel of other ways to use this spread:
- add a swipe to a ham and swiss sandwich—even better if you’ve added some wafer-thin slices of Granny Smith apple
- make a chic version of ants on a log with celery and dried cranberries or cherries in place of raisins
- homemade nut butter on Ritz-y homemade pretzel crackers? Hello!
- and forget peanut butter and jelly; this + fig jam on toasted sourdough could be my new jam forevah
Let me know how you’d make this nut butter perfect for you in the comments, and what you want to eat it with. We could all use the inspiration!
Miso Nut Butter
liberally adapted from the New York Times
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
- 1/2 cup Marcona almonds
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz.) white miso
- 1/2 cup (2 3/8 oz.) almond butter or natural creamy peanut butter
- 1/4-1/3 cup (2-3 fl. oz.) maple syrup, to taste
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a chunky paste forms. (If you want a creamy butter, keep pulsing and blending, but the chunks of Marcona almonds in this recipe really make it special, I think.)
Scrape into a lidded container and refrigerate.
When kept in a sealed container, homemade nut butters will stay fresh in the refrigerator for several months.