Guest Post: Unlocking the Mystery of Nut and Seed Butters by Dorothy St. James

Unlocking the Mystery of Nut and Seed Butters
by Dorothy St. James

1-Guest redAs anyone who has read the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series can attest to, Charity Penn (intrepid sleuth) is a disaster when it comes to following a recipe. Perhaps her inability to follow the rules is one reason she’s so good at solving mysteries. She sees things in ways others cannot begin to imagine.

This talent also extends to her ability to match up flavors with her chocolate creations, especially truffles and bonbons.

Her dreaming up new flavor combinations has kept me (the author) on my toes. She likes to play with various nut and seed butters. As a result, I’ve had to learn how to make these treats from scratch at home.

Actually, it’s not that hard. If it were, I wouldn’t be able to do it.

I use a mini-food processor to grind the nuts and seeds. Sometimes I sweeten the butters with honey. The results have been surprisingly… good!

Both nuts and seeds release oils when they are ground up to create a creamy texture.

I’ve used both roasted and raw nuts and seeds and like the flavors of both. Currently, my favorite flavors are lightly salted pepita (pumpkin) seed butter and pistachio nut butter. If a nut has an outer skin, this should be removed before putting it into the food processor.

Not only are the nut and seed butters good on toast, they make delicious chocolate-covered truffles.

Play around with flavors. You can combine nuts to make your own unique nut butter flavors.

Also, it’s fun to add spices such as black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom to the butter mix to give the butters rich taste profiles.

1-recipe postTo tempt you to try and make your own, here are two of Penn’s recipes for nut and seed butter.

Pumpkin Spice Butter
1 Cup Pumpkin Seeds (Shelled, Roasted, and Salted)
2 T Honey (Local is best)
Pumpkin pie spice, to taste (1/4 teaspoon)
Add water as needed

Grind the pumpkin seeds in a food processor. Add honey. Continue to grind until it makes a smooth paste. If mixture is grainy, a teaspoon of water at a time to loosen. Add spices. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
Pistachio Butter

2 cups shelled roasted pistachios
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp honey
Cinnamon to taste (1/4 teaspoon)

Grind the nuts in a food processer. Add honey. Continue to grind until it makes a smooth paste. If mixture is grainy, a teaspoon of water at a time to loosen. Add spices. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Do you make your own nut butters? Are you interested in trying? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Also, be sure to look for more delicious recipes and a deadly mystery on everyone’s favorite sea island, Camellia Beach in Bonbon With the Wind, the latest Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery.

About The Book:

BonBon with the Wind (Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery) by Dorothy St. James

Bonbon With the WindJoin Penn and Stella on their latest adventure!

There’s a legend in the Sea Islands that before a hurricane hits the Gray Lady can be seen walking down the beach warning of doom. Penn doesn’t believe in such silly stories, but she does believe weather forecasters. A powerful hurricane is heading their way. Everyone on the island of Camellia Beach is busy boarding up windows and securing valuables to upper levels of buildings. Joe Davies, a local treasure hunter with an unquenchable sweet tooth, claims to have seen the Gray Lady walking toward him just that morning and is terrified for his life.

After the storm passes everyone returns to survey the damage. As Penn walks her little dog Stella on the beach, she finds Joe Davies’ body washed up onshore. Not only that, it looks as if an exploding transformer caused Joe’s seaside shack to burn to the ground. Did the Gray Lady claim another victim? Many on the island believe that is exactly what happened.

Penn is sure there’s another explanation. She follows the clues and hints of lost gold to discover that the truth behind the treasure hunter’s death is as much of a maze as the boating channels winding their way through the local marshes.

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Hurricane Avery wreaks havoc on the island community of Camillia Beach. This is Penn’s first hurricane. In dealing with the aftermath she helps to organize the cleanup, has to define her growing relationship with her fella, and mend the rift that has grown between best friend Althea and herself. That is after she and pup Stella find yet another dead body.  The authorities rule it accidental due to the hurricane but Pen isn’t so sure.  Before the storm, the dead man was sure he was in trouble.  Add to that strangers on the island and an odd missing persons case and things are definitely not so cut and dried.

This is my first Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Penn is a mess. She has a ton of emotional baggage that gets unintentionally dropped on those she is closest to. But, she has a huge heart and though she is relatively new to Camillia Beach she has definitely has made a home for herself and her unruly pet in the quirky community. Plus, she knows how to solve a mystery.  Even one with a grip of suspects that somehow keep ending up dead.

This cozy has it all, murder, fake identities, cranky cops, buried treasure, and ghost hunters. All that and a bar of chocolate too! Actually, a store filled with chocolate. For all of her reputation of not being great in the kitchen, it is pretty obvious that creating new chocolate confections is Penn’s happy place and I finished the book hungry. This is a group of characters that were fun to read and I am looking forward to both catching up on their stories and seeing more to come.

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I received a complimentary evaluation copy of the book. All opinions and insights are my own.

About The Author:

Dorothy St. Janes
Dorothy St. James is the author of the White House Gardener mysteries. For the past twenty years, she made her home on Folly Beach, an artsy island community in South Carolina with her sculptor husband. Dorothy is a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Sisters in Crime (SiNC), and the International Thriller Writers (ITW). This is her fourth Southern Chocolate Shop mystery.

Author Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter/ BookBub

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