If you are anything like me, you probably aren't quite getting enough protein in your diet OR open to finding creative ways to make something decadent taste good and help you feel good. As a fan of pecans and making homemade pecan butter, I decided to indulge the sweet tooth a little with a triple chocolate pecan butter spread that incorporates THREE different sources of chocolate and creates a spread that is tasty and satiating as a snack or quick lunch. I hope you enjoy as much as we do!
Triple Chocolate Pecan Butter Spread
Triple Chocolate "Layers"
Unsweetened cocoa powder: Always keep a container of unsweetened cocoa powder in your pantry if you love baked goods and chocolate concoctions! I prefer the basic unsweetened version that allows me to incorporate it into dishes without sacrificing control. This means I can add the type of sweetener I want to the dish separate from the chocolate. Unsweetened cocoa powder offers the greatest depth of chocolate flavor to the dish.
Chocolate protein powder: This is where I take advantage of adding a little more protein to the pecan butter. Use the brand of your choice and if you don’t have chocolate protein powder on hand, you can just increase the amount of unsweetened cocoa powder you include. Chocolate protein powder simply adds protein (and some other nutritional goodies) to the butter while enhancing the chocolate flavor. The majority of the chocolate depth remains with the unsweetened cacao powder.
Organic cacao sweet nibs: I bought my cacao nibs from Thrive Market and have really enjoyed finding ways to incorporate them into our snacking routine. These have 1g of sugar added (per serving), hence the “sweet” denotation, and I plan to try the completely unsweetened version with my next order. Cacao nibs are essentially just cacao beans that were crushed into smaller pieces. Keep in mind these nibs are definitionally dark chocolate.
A note about consistency:
The protein powder and the unsweetened cocoa powder are dry ingredients, so contribute to the thickness. My love for this recipe is in the healthy addition of the protein with chocolate and its minimization of refined sugars. If you use this chocolate pecan butter on a piece of toast, it is going to be satisfying and satiating – so I felt like a “spread” almost made more sense. Call it what you like, though!
You are reaching the end of your pecan processing time when the natural oils from the pecans start to separate from the pecan butter.
When making this for the first time, consider adding the chocolate, syrup, and pecan oil a few teaspoons at a time, just in case you would like to taste as you make. You might prefer something with a little more chocolate, or a little less sweetness.
Customize this recipe to your liking! Here are some acceptable substitutes:
- You are welcome to use a different type of oil in the recipe. In fact, the most common in homemade pecan butter recipes is coconut oil.
- Not a cacao nib fan? No problem! Use some chocolate chips instead.
You'll love this recipe if...
- You are looking for creative ways to add more protein to your diet. A serving size of this butter isn’t going to provide a large amount, but every bit helps!
- You enjoy chocolate treats, but like recipes that cut down on refined sugar. The sweetness in this recipe comes from pure maple syrup.
- You are looking for a satiating snack or lunch that simultaneously satisfies your sweet tooth.
- You follow a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or flexitarian diet.
Triple Chocolate Pecan Butter Spread
- 3 cups raw pecan halves (I used Mammoth pecan halves)
- 2 1/4 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp cacao nibs optional, can be substituted with chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp chocolate protein powder
- 3 tsp tahini, optional
- 1 1/2 tsp pecan oil (Reserve more, if needed. Can substitute with coconut oil or other neutral-flavored oil of your choice.)
- pinch of kosher salt
- Over medium heat in a skillet, gently toast pecan halves for a few minutes before adding to food processor. There is no need to add oil to the pan as the pecans have enough oil on their own.
- Transfer pecan halves to food processor. Process for about 15 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape the sides of the food processor. The pecan butter is done when you see an oil sheen on the butter. If you are not used to this process, please note that it will probably take anywhere from 10-20 minutes to reach the consistency you desire.
- Add salt, cocoa powder, tahini (optional), and chocolate protein powder. Start pulsing to combine before changing to the constant run of the food processor. Through the pour spout, add maple syrup, and pecan oil. Process until you reach the desired consistency.
- If you need to thin the butter, add more oil (1 tsp. at a time to be cautious) until it suits your preferences. Stir in cacao nibs and spread onto a baguette or piece of toast! Sprinkle with more cacao nibs, if desired.
- This pecan butter recipe creates a decadent, thick butter. As it is homemade, this is not going to be as smooth as store bought versions, but does come close. Adding cacao powder and protein powder instead of melted chocolate (which is typical) means that is a little more thick. Is it still delicious, spreadable, and can be enjoyed by the spoonful or served on bread.
- Acceptable Substitutions:
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs.
- Coconut oil instead of pecan oil.
- Tahini gives this a creamy texture and enhances the flavor of the chocolate, but is optional.
- Increase the unsweetened cocoa powder to replace the chocolate protein powder, if desired.