Daring Cooks July challenge : Nut Butters!

Chicken with pecan cream sauce!

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

I joined the Daring Cooks a few months ago but I’ve yet to actually recreate any recipe on site. I got the idea from a friend who started it, I thought it would be fun. It would give me kind of a personal challenge every month for my cooking so that I don’t settle in to a culinary rut. I was putting around their message boards today having seen their tag on random cooking blogs I Google and thought now is as good a time as any to get going! So my first challenge? Nut butters! I chose the pecan, because it is a soft nut and I do not have a food processor. Maybe if I’m good, Santa will bring me one this year. A soft nut, like pecans, have a chance in a regular kitchen blender. Something like an almond is too hard for a regular kitchen blender unless you have something heavy duty.

Nut butters are really easy to make it turns out.  Stick your nuts in a blender or food processor and just run it until you have the butter.  (atleast 1 1/2 to 2 cups of nuts people!)

my pecan nut butter

chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms

Pecan Cream:

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Pecan butter
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt, more as needed
  • 1 tbsp deglaze (water, white wine, whatever. optional)
  • 1/2  pound (225 g) egg noodles or pasta
  • 4  boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, more as needed
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil, more as needed
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 pound (225 g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves
  • Chopped pecans, (optional garnish)

Make the pecan cream, mix the nut butter with the salt and water  until smooth, set aside.

Cook noodles according to package instructions in salted water. Drain, rinse, and keep warm.

Sprinkle chicken with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, adding more oil if needed for second batch. Set aside cooked chicken on a clean plate, cover to keep warm.

Add deglazing liquid to pan if using and stir up any browned bits. If needed, add another teaspoon (5 ml) of oil (or more) to pan for sautéing the shallots and mushrooms. Sauté the shallots and mushrooms over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and starting to brown. Add fresh thyme to the pan. Stir in pecan cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 minutes till reduced slightly.

Slice chicken into thin strips. Divide the noodles among serving plates. Add a scoop of the mushroom pecan sauce on top of noodles. Lay sliced chicken on top. Garnish with fres

h thyme and/or a pinch of chopped pecans if you want to go all the way.

Now to make this quicker for me I bought the already pre-sliced raw chicken breast.  It also happened we are officially out of chicken and my husband won’t be home until I am finished cooking this so I had to run out with both children.  It is not fun walking through a grocery store with two kids, no car, and no cart! So the raw strips works out for now.


13 Responses to “Daring Cooks July challenge : Nut Butters!”

  1. nikki Says:

    Oh, I also made an almond butter a little while ago… It’s actually not too hard at all, my blender is junk and it still blended it pretty well. With nut butters, you just gotta scrape down the sides a few times.. Any nut works really well in the blender actually, peanuts are great too they’re super soft.

    • esmeq Says:

      ugh yea i had to scrape it down constantly but my blender is also junk. free with hbc reward points go me lol

  2. Audax Artifex Says:

    Good to hear that the Daring Cooks’ is leading you to unfamiliar territory that is tasty and easy on your kitchen equipment. Well done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    • esmeq Says:

      Its definitely a small victory for someone who didn’t know how to cook chicken until…… 4 years ago lol

  3. outoftheoven Says:

    Great job on the challenge!

    • esmeq Says:


  4. Shelley Says:

    Looks great! Glad you were inspired to join the challenge this month. I joined for the same reason – personal challenge and avoiding getting into a food rut. This challenge certainly helped, as I will now be adding some of these nut butter recipes to my repertoire! 🙂 Awesome job on the challenge.

  5. vivian Says:

    Great job on the challenge! I made this recipe too. It is good but I would have to spice it up next time as I felt it was too bland. Hope you had fun!

  6. Chef Dennis Says:

    pecan butter sounds delicious, I can only imagine how good of a sauce it makes…wow…what a great recipe!

  7. Kelly Says:

    Congrats on your first challenge! Looks great.

  8. Margie Says:

    Welcome to the Daring Cooks. Your pecan mushroom sauce looks delish. I know what you mean about shopping with the kids!

    • esmeq Says:

      its a nightmare! lol the 3.5 year old has to have EVERYTHING she sees and the 1 y/o has to try to throw everything out of the cart. lmao I need reinforcements for it!

  9. David and Stacy Says:

    We joined not so much to avoid a rut, but more to get ‘forced’ into trying new dishes, ingredients and techniques. Nut Butters got us a new technique this month.

    But, it’s all about being daring, right? Regardless of the motivating factors.

    Well done!
    Stay JOLLY!

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