"Mexican hot chocolate" walnut butter + celebrating walnuts

look at these walnuts. just look at them.

mexican hot chocolate walnut butter walnuts - approaching paleo

my mom used to tell me to eat walnuts when I was little, because they'd make me smarter. now that I think about it, they kind of do look like brains...

turns out that there is science behind that. according to the California Walnuts, walnuts are the only nut that contains a high amount of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), the plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, which boost brain function.

but besides the point, they're just absolutely delicious. unfortunately, my parents did not store these the correct way (you're supposed to freeze them so that they don't go rancid, because of the high fat content), so I needed to use them up ASAP.

I added a ton to the flourless chocolate zucchini walnut bread I made in my last post, which also included this walnut butter.

I'm not as creative as CA Walnuts, who (in accordance with Spoon University) were lovely enough to send me on a harvest tour last October, but I did manage to use a food processor for the first time (!!) to made my own nut butter. it's so easy, even I could do it.

(for a look at the photos from the harvest tour, scroll to the bottom of the post!)

"Mexican hot chocolate" walnut butter recipe

mexican hot chocolate walnut butter final - approaching paleo

makes 2 cups walnut butter | serving size: 2 tbsp | paleo, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian


  • 4 cups raw walnuts
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • melted coconut oil or avocado oil, optional


  1. add walnuts to the food processor.
  2. process.
  3. when mostly paste-like, add in the spices and honey and continue processing. if you prefer a creamier (more liquid) butter, add in the melted coconut oil or avocado oil to your liking.
  4. and of course, if you just want normal walnut butter, omit all the spices!
mexican hot chocolate walnut butter step 2 - approaching paleo

and there you have it! it tastes better than Nutella and is pretty arguably healthier for you as well, since it doesn't include weird additives, hydrogenated oils, any dairy, or refined sugar. plus, it has a nice kick from the cayenne. use it to top your favorite paleo bread, in recipes for baked goods, in your oatmeal... the possibilities are endless.

or just eat it straight with a spoon — I won't judge ;)

recipe adapted from Mollie Katzen of California Walnuts

mexican hot chocolate walnut butter normal walnut butter - approaching paleo

for a look at how the lovely people at CA Walnuts used walnuts during our harvest tour, check these out:

this included a make-your-own trail mix bar, walnut topped-salad, walnut-encrusted salmon, a walnut tart, and walnut chocolate chip cookies!

and these are photos from the actual walnut grove — who knew that walnuts looked like this before you ate them???