Move over Nutella. There’s a healthier chocolate nut butter and it is DE-LICIOUS!!! I love chocolate. I mean, I LOOOOOOVVVVE chocolate. And, um, yeah. Who doesn’t like nut butter? Right? So chocolate nut butter is like…OH MY GOD HEAVEN!!! The problem though is that most of the chocolate nut butters that are available commercially are loaded with tons of added sugar and even worse, dairy. Not mine though.
I tried making a vegan hazelnut butter years ago and it was a disaster. It came out looking like dark brown paste. The consistency was anything but desirable. Fast forward a few years – these days I don’t eat a lot of nuts or nut butters. It’s not that I don’t totally love them – quite the opposite actually. I cut ties with my beloved nuts and nut butters because I JUST COULDN’T STOP AFTER ONE SERVING. Ugh. Addicting, right? Although nuts are loaded with healthful fats and other micronutrients we need, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that even the good stuff is no longer good when you eat too much. And calorie-dense foods like nuts are sooooooooo easy to over-consume. I mean, seriously – I could eat 500 calories worth of nut butter in a matter of minutes. And I know I’m not alone in this. Gahhhh…
So why did I create this recipe? Good question. It all came about when I started having health problems. That’s a whole other story that I won’t get into now, but Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium. Selenium is a critical mineral needed for proper thyroid function. When you’re deficient or even insufficient in selenium your body has a difficult time converting T4 into T3 – T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone needed for normal metabolism function. So when lab tests came back showing that I had normal T4 levels but low T3 levels, well, the nutritionist in me came to my rescue. Ha ha.
My new Brazil nut routine generally includes two or three Brazil nuts added to my morning oatmeal or smoothie bowl. Yeah, that doesn’t seem like much but trust me. Brazil nuts are BIG and when you smash them up two or three nuts is more than enough. But then one day I had an idea. Magnesium is also important for healthy thyroid function. Magnesium is important for pretty much EVERY function in the body. It’s such an important mineral. And what’s a good source of magnesium? CHOCOLATE! Yep. The best food on Earth. He he. So why not mix the two? Brilliant!
Voila. The birth of Dark Chocolate Brazil Nut Butter came to be. Oh boy. And it came out perfectly. I mean, so silky. So rich but not too rich. So decadent. The perfect consistency and…healthy! Yes, HEALTHY! Now if I can just control myself and not eat it by the tablespoon, er, cup-full. Eek!
So here it is. I like it as a nice treat with fresh fruit or drizzled on my smoothie bowl or even stirred into a warm bowl of oatmeal. A chocolate Brazil nut butter and banana sandwich is soooooo delish – or swap out the banana for fresh strawberries or another fruit (I’m picturing apricots – yummmmm). Or maybe you’d enjoy this decadent spread alone on some toast or a bagel or English muffin. The possibilities are endless!
CHOCOLATE BRAZIL NUT BUTTER SPREAD
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 8 minutes Total Time: 13 minutes Makes: ~12 ounces
- 1½ cups raw brazil nuts
- ¼ + 1 tablespoon cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1½ tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of sea salt (be careful – too much salt will ruin this delicious spread)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil.
- Spread the nuts on the baking sheet and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 8 minutes, stirring the nuts halfway through. Don’t walk away from the oven. Be sure to keep checking the last few minutes to ensure they don’t burn.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the nuts cool on the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Then place the nuts in a high-powered blender or food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Transfer to an airtight jar and store in a cool, dark pantry for up to two weeks or in the fridge for up to three months. (it won’t last that long though).