I recently bought Brazilian nuts out of morbid curiosity. After doing so, I am disappointing that I have not discovered them any sooner. I am a huge nut addict. If you put a bowl full of assorted nuts, they will be devoured within seconds. I pity those with nut allergies, especially poor hubby. Not only are they full of nutrients, but they help curb my cravings for sweets and mega-salty snacks. As I reiterated before, Brazilian nuts are my recent discovery. These nuts are the seeds of a large tree that grows up to 50 meters (160 feet) tall in the Amazon jungle. Brazilian nuts have an unusually tender, rich and mild flavor. Their shells are notoriously difficult to crack. Brazil nuts are often used in baking and go well with chocolate, cookies, or any other dessert/snack. The oil made from Brazil nuts has a pleasant nutty flavor and can be used as a high-quality salad oil. Brazilian nuts can be eaten raw or used in cooking. As whole nuts, they are used in confectionery and are good for decorating fruit cakes or larger cakes because of their nice shape and size. When roughly grounded, they make good toppings for desserts and add crunch to rice or vegetable dishes. Ground Brazil nuts can be stirred into cakes and cheesecake bases. They can also be used to make nut spreads (a light bulb just lit up in my head) and creams as you will momentarily learn how.
Until now, I have been using non-dairy store-bought creamers for soups, desserts, and drinks. I have been on a quest to search for healthier and soy-free alternatives as cream is generally laden with fat, high sugar content, and chemicals. The idea of making cream from nuts is not too farfetched as one may think. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a brilliant idea. You can take pretty much any raw nut and make it into a cream, but there are a couple that work for this purpose extra well. Cashews and macadamia nuts are both excellent choices. However, I used Brazilian nuts for this soy-free cream recipe. Brazilian nuts have a rich and buttery flavor which offset this nut cream. Akin to most recipes using raw nuts, Brazilian nuts need to be soaked for a couple hours till overnight. You can make this Brazilian nut cream recipe sweet or savory. I prefer to keep the flavors as neutral and natural as possible. I used this Brazilian nut cream for a spaghetti Alfredo recipe in which I will be sharing in my next post.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 cups of raw and shelled Brazilian nuts (feel free to use Macadamia or Cashew if you prefer)
- 1 cup of cold water and more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or agave nectar (optional)
Soak the Brazilian nuts overnight. Drain them and add them to a food processor. Pulse a few times to grind them up. With the motor still running, drizzle in 1 cup of fresh water, stopping a few times to scrape the bowl of the food processor down. You can continue to add more water depending on how thick or thin you’d like the cream to be; you may want it as thick as whipped cream, or you may want it to be closer to the texture of coconut milk. Keep adding water until you like the consistency. Alternately, you can add the nuts and the water to a high speed blender and blend, adding water as needed, till you reach the desired consistency. For a savory cream, add the lemon and sea salt. For a sweet cream, add the maple syrup, cane juice, or sugar. For an extra smooth cream, pass the mixture through a sieve lined with cheesecloth.