When I was younger I had the habit of transforming things from pristine condition to, well, less than pristine condition in a very short timeframe (and let’s be honest… when I say “when I was younger,” I mean “up until this very day”). One day my mom and I set out to procure a brand new pair of Keds – you know the type, white, perfect lace-up canvas, ideal for back-to-school. I was so excited to have them in my footwear arsenal, that I immediately slipped them on when we got home, barely listening as my mother urged me not to get them dirty. I agreed and flounced out the back door to set off for a secret play place in the neighbor’s wooded lot. There I had set up a couple of sticks and one lone board and spent my afternoons sawing. Yes. Sawing. Yeah… I know… you and me both… weird. Not long after really getting into my sawing project, I heard my mom calling from our back porch. Afraid of being discovered with tools (?) I scurried out of the woods and started sprinting toward home. Wouldn’t you know that after only a few feet, I planted firmly in a bucket of tar, covering the new white canvas in impossibly sticky, dark substance. Now, in my defense, why there was a bucket of tar slightly buried in the ground at all is still a mystery – who would ever think to keep their eyes out for that? Yet, as soon as I pulled out my submerged foot, I knew I couldn’t save myself. I tried brushing it off in the grass, only to find the blades firmly sticking to the tar.
Similarly, during every birthday party, field trip, or family outing we took to Showbiz (before it was Chuck E. Cheese, naturally) or Celebration Station, I would hoard my winning tickets in the effort to redeem them for a beautiful, artisan paper fan. I would fold and refold my treasure repeatedly on the car ride home, fanning myself as though I were the damsel Scarlet O’Hara reincarnate. And yet, my touch was never gentle, and without fail, before even arriving in our driveway, the painted paper of the fan would pull away from one of the arms, and I was left with nothing. Only a broken fan. The first time or two my beautiful prize collapsed so wretchedly, I was dismayed. Yet, ever a girl to turn lemons into lemonade, I simply began telling people that I collected broken fans. They were the goal of all of my aims. I collected them in a box and glowed and preened while telling classmates about the trove of broken fans. Several even donated their own malfunctioning goods to my collection. Years later I unearthed that collection from the depths of a desk drawer and laughed while I opened each one, realizing that somehow I convinced people that broken toys were the best toys. Then I realized that I didn’t convince anyone. They just got to pawn off their trash on me. But still. Broken fans are pretty cool.
This weekend I was actually able to transform something in pristine condition into something that may be arguably even better when I took nuts into my own hands (wink wink) and produced a delicious triple nut butter, and then further upgraded it by adding granola and chocolate and rolling all of that into one delicious nut butter granola ball. What can I say… the better the nuts, the better butter, and subsequently, the better the ball.
Triple Nut Butter
1 c. raw cashews (you can very easily just use 3 cups of a single nut variety, but I just used what I had on hand and really liked it)
1 c. raw pistachio kernels
1 c. raw hazelnuts
3 T. maple syrup
3 T. olive oil + more to preference
Spread nuts on sheet pan. Mist very lightly with olive oil. Roasted 8-11 minutes at 200 degrees. Once nuts have cooled, add to food processor and process until they create a fine meal. Add generous sprinkle of sea salt, maple syrup and olive oil and allow food processor to run. Do not be alarmed that for a while all the nuts seem to do is clump together. Just continue to process for 8-10 minutes. As the food processor runs and heats up, the nuts begin to expel their oil, making the consistency begin to resemble a more traditional, store bought almond butter. Add some honey, a bit more maple syrup or olive oil at that point, if desired, and continue to run until the butter is your preferred consistency. Spoon into mason jars and chill.
Coconut Oat Granola Bites
1 1/2 c. oats
1/2 c. coconut
Nut butter of choice. I used the product resulting from the above recipe.
Generous handful dried berries
Generous handful dark chocolate chunks or semi sweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl combine oats and coconut. You can play with the proportions depending on taste preference. Stir in nut butter by the heaping tablespoonful, stirring well between each, until the mixture resembles cookie dough and can be rolled in a ball without falling apart (I added probably 4-5 spoonfuls). Mix in dried berries and chocolate chips. Roll mixture into cookie dough-sized balls and place on a baking sheet. Chill for 1-2 hours, place in Tupperware container and keep in refrigerator.