5 ways to use baru nuts
In this video, you'll learn 5 ways to use baru nuts, a rare type of nut found in the Brazilian savanna(I incorrectly say the Amazon in the video but it's not the same thing):
1. A nut butter
2. Baru nut milk
3. Baru nut ice cream using the nut milk
4. Cheese made from baru nut milk pulp
5. Baru nut ice cream cake
All of these recipes(except for the cake) are vegan!
You're probably wondering right now, "What does it taste like, anyway!?"
Good question. It tastes like a dry almond, basically, though others claim it's a hybrid between cashews and peanuts.
You may notice this video is quite long, at a little under 12 minutes. I haven't made a video that long in almost 4 years and I had doubts about whether to even bother putting this video up considering baru nut milk, like many nut milks, don't lend themselves to making creamy ice cream.
Initially, I tried following the conventional methods for softening hard ice cream, namely leaving the open tub out for 10 minutes and using a spoon and knife that have been run under hot water, but it took me an additional 25 minutes to scoop just 1/2 a cup of ice cream. Then my sister told me to put the ice cream in the microwave, which is what she does all the time. I had my doubts about this method because I've always envisioned ice cream just melting into a puddle for even a second in the microwave. But apparently the newer microwaves on the market have a "soften mode" for frozen desserts.
After lots of testing, I came to the conclusion that this ice cream needs to be softened in the microwave on soften mode for 2 minutes, 15 seconds. Trust me, after that time period, the ice cream will still be a block of ice but if you put just enough elbow grease in it, it's doable to scoop it out with an ice cream scooper. Yesterday, though, I had a breakthrough. When I went to scoop the ice cream after I softened it in the microwave, I scooped a huge chunk out.
On my birthday, I buy myself an ice cream cake from a local ice cream store. You can have two flavors in your cake but if you only want one, the layers go like this:
Bottom layer: ice cream
On top of that: Cookie crunchies
On top of the crunchies: layer of whipped cream
To top the whipped cream: sprinkles
I'm telling you this because I realized if I make the ice cream look like a deconstructed ice cream cake, I'll be more likely to eat it because nobody(including myself) wants to have an arm workout with their ice cream.
Apart from the whipped cream, I had everything else. Once I bought some Cool Whip, this ice cream tasted even better! Granted, I had a lot of brain freeze just eating the block of ice cream but it was worth it.
Sure I could've thrown the ice cream away but to me, that's disrespectful to the farmers in Brazil who toil so hard to grow the 80-foot trees baru nuts come from. I'd like to think as the years go on what with climate change, people will become less likely to throw out perfectly good food, even hard ice cream that can be turned into an ice cream cake.
Apart from the less than desirable texture of the ice cream, it looks like some sort of chocolate ice cream that tastes very nutty.
But I need to backtrack to the three recipes that are necessary to even make this ice cream: the nut butter, the milk, and the pulp resulting from the milk(which, while you don't need it for this ice cream, you really shouldn't throw out because it can be made perfectly edible).
The Nut Butter
Of the 5 recipes, the best one is definitely the nut butter(but the cake comes in a close 2nd). It tastes like a mix of chunky cashew, peanut, and almond butters. This is the only recipe I'll plan on repeating for the surplus baru nuts I have. To me, just eating plain baru nuts isn't very enticing. I'm a sucker for a nut butter and jelly sandwich, though!
The Nut Milk
When I made these recipes, I overestimated how many nuts needed to be soaked in water by a lot- 2 cups, to be precise. My blender can only fit 6 cups total and 1/4 of nut milk is just the nuts- the rest is water and other stuff, like sweeteners. I didn't throw out the extra soaked nuts, though. I turned them into milk off camera, but I used them for other things, like mac and cheese and my morning oatmeal. Of course, I drank some too. As for the pulp that I ended up with, I saved some of it to make a baru nut pulp bread off camera.
Strangely enough, the milk tasted like the kind you get from a cow, at least once you put in the maple syrup. Otherwise, it's just bland.
The Rest of the Nut Pulp
There was a lot of pulp resulting from making the milk. I used most of the pulp to make vegan cheese. Some parts ended up hard but still edible nonetheless while most of it was just plain crumbly. It tasted nutty obviously and cheesy from the nutritional yeast I put in. The crumbly bits tasted like either really thin cottage cheese or dry Parmesan cheese. You can spread some of this cheese onto some Triscuits or you can use them as the cheese for homemade pizza. The cheese doesn't melt, though.
My dad didn't try the cheese because he was full but he did try the milk and ice cream. To him, the milk and the ice cream tasted nutty.
Salted Baru Nuts: barukas.com/products/barukas-with-sea-salt
Unsalted Baru Nuts: barukas.com/products/baruka-nuts
Baru Nut Trail Mix: barukas.com/products/barukas-trail-mix
Baru Nut Butter
6 oz. salted baru nuts(see HELPFUL LINKS)
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
Pinch of cinnamon
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1. In a small food processor, grind up the salted nuts for 5-10 minutes, or until really fine in consistency.
2. Scrape down the edges of the bowl.
3. Add 1 tbsp. of melted coconut oil. Process again until the contents in the food processor don't move around anymore.
4. Add the rest of the melted coconut oil, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Process again until you end up with a creamy nut butter.
5. Reserve the nut butter for now.
Baru Nut Milk
13-16 oz. unsalted baru nuts(see HELPFUL LINKS)
Enough water to submerge the nuts for soaking(I used 1 3/4 cups) plus an additional 3-4 cups of water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. chopped dates
Maple syrup to taste
1. In a large saucepot, soak the nuts in enough water to submerge them overnight, for at least 8 hours.
2. Using a colander with a bowl underneath, drain the nuts. Discard the water.
3. Place 12 oz. soaked nuts in a blender along with 3-4 cups of water. Some of the nuts will float while others will sink to the bottom.
4. On pulse mode, blend the nuts and water. If the mixture is too watery, add more soaked nuts and blend on pulse mode again.
5. Add the vanilla extract and dates.
6. Blend on pulse mode for at least 1 minute.
7. Taste the milk. If it's too bland, add maple syrup.
8. Blend on pulse mode again.
9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until the milk is sweet enough for your liking.
10. With a large bowl underneath, strain the milk through a cheesecloth or nut milk strainer. Squeeze out as much milk as you can. The solids are your nut pulp, which you should reserve for now.
Baru Nut Pulp Cheese
Baru nut milk pulp(see above)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil
1-2 tbsp. lemon juice
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne or Aleppo pepper
Pinch of salt
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until you get a firm mixture. While you're mixing all the ingredients up, break up the coconut oil.
2. Chill the cheese in the fridge overnight, or for at least an hour.
3. Serve with Triscuits or use in place of Parmesan cheese for whatever you like.
Baru Nut Milk Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
Baru Nut Milk(see above)
2 tbsp. baru nut butter(see above)
Maple syrup to taste(optional)
1/4 cup baru nut trail mix(see HELPFUL LINKS)
For Making the Ice Cream
1. Mix the nut butter into the milk.
2. Taste the mixture. If it's not sweet enough, add maple syrup until the ice cream mixture is sweet enough.
3. Put the ice cream mixture in the fridge to let it chill for 30-60 minutes.
4. Turn your ice cream maker on and pour the chilled ice cream mixture in. Let the ice cream churn for 11-12 minutes.
5. Add in the trail mix. Let the ice cream churn for another 3-4 minutes.
6. Turn the ice cream maker off. Scoop the ice cream halfway into a quart-sized ice cream tub.
7. Top that ice cream with more trail mix. Cover the trail mix with the rest of the ice cream. Top the ice cream with more trail mix.
8. Let the ice cream set in the freezer overnight, or at least 4 hours.
For Scooping the Ice Cream
1. Take the lid off the ice cream tub and place tub in microwave.
2. Set the microwave to soften ice cream mode. Soften the ice cream in the microwave for 2 minutes, 15 seconds.
3. With an ice cream scooper and a lot of elbow grease, scoop out the ice cream. It's normal for it to look like shaved ice.
Baru Nut Milk Ice Cream Cake
A slice of softened baru nut milk ice cream
1. Top a slice of the ice cream with some Oreo crumbs, then Cool Whip, and finally, the sprinkles.