Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Daring Kitchen (July 2010): Nut Butter

This month's challenge was to make your own nut butter, and then use it in a dish (not a dessert). I decided that this would be a great time to make a West African soup, as I've meant to try something like this for years. I became pescatarian a few months back, so I'm always looking for tasty new vegetarian recipes!

Both of my recipes were adapted from ones found on myrecipes.com.

Vegetarian West African Soup

adapted from Cooking Light via myrecipes.com


2/3 cup roasted peanuts
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
6 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (I cut mine into 1/2 inch cubes instead)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained (I used northern beans instead)
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans vegetable broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I used Fire Roasted by Heinz)
Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)


Place peanuts in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once. The peanuts took longer than that in my processor. I was beginning to think that they wouldn't process properly, as they stayed in a crumbly condition for a long time...

...but finally it smoothed out into a butter.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 7 minutes or until lightly browned. (I also added the potato little by little while I cute it up, so it would get a little sauteeing, too.)

Add peanut butter, potato, and next 6 ingredients (potato through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until potato is tender.

I decided to use Fire Roasted tomatoes...

And this was the result...

Garnish with parsley, if desired.

The first bite seemed a little strange, what with the peanut flavor. But every bite got better and better. Woodrow said that it tasted like chili, and that he could eat this soup regularly. Mellow, sweet, with smoky cumin undertones. We both loved it! It's super easy, affordable to make, and full of fiber, protein, and flavor!

I also decided to go ahead and do a bonus dessert made of nut butter.

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries
adapted from Cooking Light via myrecipes.com

  • 2/3 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 375°.

Place nuts in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once.

Combine macadamia butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed.

Add vanilla and egg; beat well.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and ground nutmeg, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined (mixture will be very thick).

My dough was somewhat dry and crumbly, so I added 2-3 tsp of water to the mixture.

Stir in chopped cranberries. Chill 10 minutes.

Divide chilled dough into 30 equal portions; roll each portion into a ball. Place 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a small bowl. Lightly press each ball into sugar; place each ball, sugar side up, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Gently press the top of each cookie with a fork. Dip the fork in water; gently press the top of each cookie again to form a crisscross pattern. Place 15 cookies on each of 2 baking sheets.

Bake cookies, 1 baking sheet at a time, at 375° for 9 minutes or until golden. Remove cookies from pan; cool on a wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining cookies.

Baked until golden, they were crispy around the edges and soft in the middle.

These cookies were like the soup: the first bite is a little strange and off-putting, but then each bite gets better and better until you are addicted! And that's a bad thing, since they are 70 calories per cookie!

Nice meal for dinner, which makes for a nice lunch today. Good challenge! Thanks guys!


shelley c. said...

Oooh - that stew looks and sounds so good. I am usually not a huge soup person, but that is really delicious looking and sounding. And I love macadamia nuts and cookies, so those cookies sound like just the perfect snack right about now... Awesome job with the challenge!

Audax said...

That soup looks astounding I LOVE the flavour profile it sounds so homely and tasty well done. And your cookies are to die for but 90 cals each they had better taste delicious superb work on this challenge. Yes I agree this challenge was quick easy and totally delicious.Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Ruth H. said...

That soup looks and sounds amazing! I love learning new vegetarian soups - much as I love chili and veggie soup, variety is helpful... This is one I now want to try! And those cookies. Macadamia nuts AND cranberries? Woohoo!!!

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and both recipes sound awesome. I particularly like the cookies.

Margie said...

Your soup looks terrific! I always love beans in soup. The recipe sounds delicious. Those macadamia cranberry cookies look sooo good. Great job!

Cook of the House said...

I have some friends who are leaving for Africa in a couple of weeks and he loves soups. I might have to make the soup as a "Bon Voyage" present. It looks wonderful! Kelly