Yep. Corn Nuts, ground up into a “nut” butter.
I’ve had freeze-dried corn ground into powder many times, and I know Christina Tosi uses that to make her famous corn cookies. I was in Chicago yesterday to do a taping at WGN, and managed to get a drink at Grant Achatz’ The Aviary. One of the snacks I ordered was a guacamole filled croquant that had a corn powder, but it tasted like the toasted flavor of Corn Nuts, not the pure sweet flavor of freeze-dried corn. Awesome.
So then it occurred to me on the plane yesterday – what if I ground Corn Nuts past the powder consistency and all the way to nut butter? I was so excited I bought two packages of corn nuts at the Seattle airport so I could try it first thing this morning. I would have done it last night if it wouldn’t have woken up the family!
For my first try, I rinsed the Corn Nuts to remove excess salt, then quickly dried them in the oven. I ground them in the VitaPrep on high speed, adding about 5 tablespoons of corn oil to the 8 ounces of Corn Nuts, using the tamper to force them into the blade, and running for a good 3 minutes to get them as fine as possible. Adjusted salt to taste and oil to make spreadable. Then I pushed them through a tamis (ultra-fine sieve).
Results: flavor amazing; exactly what you would imagine, the purest roasted corn flavor you can imagine. Texture: imperfect. Still, even after the tamis, a bit grainy. I think my next move will be to try using the Champion Juicer to see if it can produce a creamier result. Anyone else have other ideas?
I’m excited about the possible uses for this. It seems like there are many ways to play it, both sweet and savory. You can think of it from the corn angle or the nut butter angle, or both. Some thoughts:
- On toasted brioche with tomato jam – looks like PB&J, tastes like tomato and corn salad
- Cookies (would taste different than the Tosi version, probably more like a peanut butter cookie)
- Ice cream
- Gianduja (normally hazelnut butter and chocolate), or gianduja coated feuilletine (pastry flakes), or gianduja coated cornflakes
- Filled pretzels
Got some other ideas?