You Butter Believe It

Recipe and photos by Brandon Matzek

Made with just two ingredients, this Roasted Pecan Butter is a delicious DIY project that couldn't be easier. The process starts in the oven with a sheet pan covered in pecan halves. As the nuts cook gently in the oven, their natural oils heat up, releasing an intoxicating aroma of maple and brown butter.

These roasted pecans are then blitzed in a food processor until smooth. Sea salt is added to boost flavors. The finished Roasted Pecan Butter is thin and silky - perfect for a piece of toast, an on-the-go sandwich or drizzling over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Snacking by the spoonful is encouraged and addictive.

The method outlined here is a base recipe that can be easily modified. To sweeten things up, try mixing in honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, melted chocolate or caramel. Warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove and allspice can be added individually or in various combinations. To make chunky pecan butter, pulse in additional chopped pecans at the end.

Equally delicious and versatile, Roasted Pecan Butter can be put to good use in many toast variations. Starting with a simple slice of toasted bread, Honeycomb Pecan Toast stacks up as follows: a generous swath of Roasted Pecan Butter beneath several dots of sticky honeycomb topped with flaky sea salt.Crunchy, chewy, sweet and salty, this toast is a next-level experience. Try these other flavor combinations, using toast and Roasted Pecan Butter as the base:

Sliced banana, crispy bacon, toasted marshmallow
Roasted squash, maple syrup, chile flake
Ripe peach, caramel, smoked sea salt
Chopped dates, toasted coconut, clover honey

Roasted Pecan Butter, along with other homemade nut butters, has a more liquefied consistency compared to commercial peanut butter. The butter will firm up slightly once refrigerated.

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Roasted Pecan Butter

Ingredients
4 cups pecans
1/2 tsp. fine-grain sea salt, plus more to taste
For toast: sliced bread, chopped pecans, honeycomb (or honey) and flaky sea salt

Process
Flavor boost. Preheat oven to 450°F and set a rack in the middle of the oven. Spread pecans out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant (10 to 15 minutes). Start checking the pecans around minute 10 and keep a watchful eye to avoid burning. Let pecans cool completely.

Smooth operator. Transfer pecans to a food processor or high-powered blender and add sea salt. Process for 10 to 15 minutes, until the pecans turn into a smooth butter, scraping down the sides several times throughout. Season to taste with additional salt (I added 1/4 teaspoon more). Pour Roasted Pecan Butter into a clean jar and store in the refrigerator for up to several weeks.

Finishing touches. To make Honeycomb Pecan Toast, crisp a slice of bread in a toaster or oven, then top with a couple spoonfuls of Roasted Pecan Butter. Scatter chopped pecans over the toast, dot with honeycomb and finish with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt. Enjoy immediately, repeat.

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