Maple Pecan Butter
(and some Very Important Updates)
Hi, everyone! Remember me? It’s your friendly neighborhood chronically ill baker. It’s been awhile, I know. And I’m sincerely sorry about that, for a number of reasons. A very enthusiastic welcome to my new subscribers and a warm welcome back to those of you who have been around for awhile. I’m glad you’re here. Before we get into today’s recipe, let’s catch up a little, shall we?
Through my participation in the Bakers Against Racism nationwide bake sale, I was able to make a $300 donation to the San Diego Black Nurses Association. Thank you all so, so much for making that possible. Good news- they’re doing another one! Bake the Vote will be happening durning the last week of September, and I’ll have more details for you later. Expect pie. I’ve also been trying to figure out how to safely and efficiently ship delicious baked goods across the country, so it’s possible I’ll be able to open this fundraiser to a wider range of people (and maybe, possibly, make the online store a permanent staple).
Around the same time as the bake sale, I was also caught up in a bit of a debacle with a coffee shop back east (read as: I STARTED SOME DAMN TROUBLE AND I HAVE NO REGRETS). Ahem. Basically, I was scrolling through twitter one day when I was shown a disturbing far-right tweet. It was baffling, because you see, I will not have that in my life. So why on earth would twitter think I wanted to see that nonsense? Turns out, it was in the category of “someone you follow liked this tweet and the algorithm gods have spoken.” Or something like that. The associated account was that of one of my favorite coffee shops in the DC area. This place had a great atmosphere, sold art by local artists, collaborated with other small businesses, and most importantly, allowed dogs inside. I was worried they may have been hacked. I asked about it in a local facebook group and a former employee (who was still facebook friends with the owner) spoke up to say...nope! That was definitely the owner’s point of view. She provided some pretty damning evidence. So I wrote a post on my private facebook urging people to stop giving them business, a friend asked to make it public so it could be shared, I made it public, and it got shared. Hundreds of times. So many employees, former and current, spoke up and shared their stories. It was honestly horrifying. I got messages from employees who were afraid to comment publicly because the owner would retaliate. I got messages from news outlets hoping to talk to me for their upcoming articles. I got messages filled with hate and threats by strangers who did not like what I had done. More and more information about the owner came out, all of it bad. Like, really, really bad. And not all of the information was from employees; the owner just called himself out in print, repeatedly. It was a wild ride, and I’m thrilled to have been a part of it. If you have a minute and can bear to take yourself back to news from a couple of months ago, these are extremely entertaining reads:
Apart from those things, I’ve really just been staying inside and doing some visual art. I can’t go anywhere because my neighborhood remains unfriendly and smug about lack of mask use, so it isn’t safe. San Diego keeps doing well enough for a few weeks to get us off of the state watch list or one threat level lower, then people seem to forget that the virus still exists and we end up right back where we started. So I’ve basically been living in a 12x12 space for the last six months with occasional trips to other rooms in the house, plus two very quick trips to the desert (it has been more than 100° so quick means getting there after dark with just enough time to see some meteors and then leaving before the sun comes up). And yes, it is still exhausting to live amongst people who truly do not care if they could kill you. Exhaustion has been the main reason for the lapse in posts. With COVID still out there, the numerous protests that have rightfully continued because for some reason (racism...the reason is racism) police can’t stop murdering Black people for existing, not being able to take walks or go to physical therapy, being fully reliant on other people for things I need in my day-to-day life, the imploding of the post office, and the fires overtaking the west coast, it’s been difficult. But I bought myself a tiny treadmill to take tiny indoor walks, so things are looking up.
On that note, I guess we can finally get to the recipe. I love nut butters and I love pecans, but I’ve never seen pecan butter in stores and I had three different open bags of pecans for Reasons, so I figured it was a good time to try my hand at making pecan butter. Y’all, it was so easy and it’s so delicious. I’m marking it as #🥄 for the ease of the recipe and short amount of time, but it does require some special equipment- you need an oven or toaster oven and a floor processor or super high powered blender.
Step one: get yourself a boyfriend with connections to Vermont so you can get some A+ maple syrup. Just kidding! Mostly! Any maple syrup will work, but this stuff is the best maple syrup I’ve ever had. I’ve been putting it in everything from smoothies to oatmeal and I will never ever stop. I may have taken a few shots straight from the bottle. This post isn’t sponsored, but if you’re reading this Three Peaks, I will gladly create recipes in exchange for syrup.
The real step one is toasting the pecans. You can skip this step if you want, but I promise you don’t actually want to. It’s worth it. Preheat the oven to 350°, spread out the pecans on a baking sheet, and toast them in the oven for about 8 minutes. The time will depend on your oven, but it shouldn’t be fewer than 7 minutes or more than 10. If you smell gorgeous, rich, nutty winter scent you’re right on target. If you smell burning, you’ve gone too far. You might want to give them a little jostle in the middle of the toasting process.
Once you’ve taken them out of the oven and they’ve had a chance to cool a bit, throw them all into a food processor. Pulse until you get the just under your desired consistency. It’ll start out kind of weird and clumpy, but then it becomes smooth and liquid after a few minutes. You’ll need to scrape down the sides a few times. The longer you go, the thicker it’ll get. Some people like their nut butters pourable, some like them to basically be fudge. It’s totally up to you.
After the mixture has come together and is almost where you want it, add in the other ingredients. If it gets too thick, you can always add some oil to thin it out. Whatever you do, DO NOT ADD WATER. It’ll conflict with the pecans’ natural oils and turn into a sad gross mess.
That’s it! Put it in a big jar (or several little jars) and store it in the fridge! Then put it on anything and everything. I like it a lot on apples, but sometimes I microwave it with some chocolate chips and dip bananas into it. You should definitely try that.
Maple Pecan Butter:
🥄; makes about 3 cups
6 cups pecans
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Toast pecans for 7-10 minutes.
3. After the pecans have cooled for a few minutes, put them in a food processor and pulse until just before you reach the desired consistency.
4. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until you reach the desired consistency.
a. the longer you pulse, the thicker the butter will get.
b. if it gets too thick add some oil until it’s back on track.