This honey vanilla chestnut spread is delicious on toast and great on fruit.
I didn’t eat a roasted chestnut until I was 20. It took living in another country and walking past a food cart that sold them everyday for 2 months before I finally caved. I have no idea how or why I resisted their intoxicating winter smell that permeated the entire block for so long because one bite into the first one and I was a chestnut fan for life. They were sold in a cone made of newspaper so by the time you finished the last one your hands were completely black from the ink. I think that’s about the only time in my life I haven’t minded having “newspaper hands” (major annoyance usually).
I don’t know what I expected them to taste like but I do remember being completely shocked upon the first bite and my initial thought being that they kind of tasted like a potato! Not like a nut at all. Tricky little suckers.
But since “nut” is in their name, I wanted to see if I could butterize these babies like the rest of them.
Yeah, so I didn’t have so much luck with that. Apparently chestnuts don’t really get creamy. Maybe it’s a different oil content than other nuts? Maybe I was just too impatient (although 15 minutes is about all I can take of hearing a food processor whirl around)? Maybe I just don’t even care. Because the result was still edible, still spreadable and still delicious in a roasted “potatoe-y” sweet kind of way. That’s probably not a great description because who really wants to spread potatoes on their toast, but just trust me on this. It’s a good kind of “potatoe-y”. In less than 12 hours I’ve already eaten it on toast, spread on a pear, in a smoothie and stuffed in a date. So it’s got some potential. Also, there were 2 full meals consumed in that time frame in addition to those things. I guess I eat a lot.
The smell and ambience of roasting them in your oven doesn’t quite compare to the smoky food cart on a Christmas lit corner in Malaga, Spain, but the taste is just as good. Maybe even better since there’s no black newspaper hands to deal with afterwards.
Honey Vanilla Chestnut Spread
A slightly sweet hearty spread great on toast or slathered on fruit.
- 1 1/4 cup chestnuts
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Carefully score chestnuts with an "x" just piercing the shell and place on baking sheet. It'll take some force to get through the outer shell. Use a sharp knife and keep fingers out of the way!
- Roast for 30 minutes until chestnuts have split open and peeled back a bit.
- Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes until you can handle them. Remove shell from chestnuts and place flesh in a food processor. Make sure to peel them while they're still warm/hot as it's much easier than when they cool.
- Add walnuts and pecans to the food processor and process for about 2-3 minutes until finely chopped.
- With the food processor running, add the coconut oil. Let it continue processing for about 2-3 more minutes then add honey, vanilla and salt.
- Scrape down if needed then continue processing and add water until the mixture starts to come together a bit more.
- Stop the food processor when the mixture can be pinched together with your finger and is essentially "spreadable". It will not be as creamy as a regular nut butter.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.