Our New Favorite Nut Butter Isn't Even Made from Nuts
Ice cream aside, almond butter is the one food I could eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner (and dessert) and never grow sick of it. But this week, I'm having a change of heart after trying a different kind of spread: granola butter. It's part healthed-up cookie butter, part nut-free sandwich topper and full "spreadable gold."
The product, which launched in February, is full of healthy fats and protein and all that good stuff (one variation is juiced up with grass-fed collagen). But its greatest strength is its chameleon-like way of working well in everything—be it blended into iced coffee, drizzled onto apple slices or used in place of hummus with carrots. I caught up with Ali Bonar, the person behind it all, to hear more about what went into bringing granola butter to life.
What got you started in all this?
"I have always loved food. In third grade, I used to beg my parents to let me pack lunches for everyone in the morning. (Weird, right? No wonder my parents were worried about me.) Through high school, I was fascinated with cooking but more so fascinated that changing what you ate could directly change the way you felt. I went on to pursue nutrition at UC Berkeley, where I graduated with a focus in physiology and metabolism."
How long did it take to develop the recipe for the granola butter?
"A good six months of solid testing. We tried over 50 variations before settling on the one we use today. We brought in our chef, Ari Schraer, who put that Michelin-star touch and really took our recipe to the next level. I cringe when I think back to our original ones. I wouldn't pay someone to eat them!"
How would you describe granola butter to someone who's never had it before?
"Granola butter is a rich, creamy spread that tastes like liquid Teddy Grahams. It's packed with warming spices and flax, so it still has a cinnamony, nutty taste, even though there's no nuts in it. It's super addicting."
What's the most rewarding part of running your own business?
"There's something so electric about white space—creating something from nothing and seeing it on the shelf at our first retail location was pretty surreal for me. A close second is customer feedback. Seeing people of all ages and backgrounds posting about granola butter on social media is so fun. People are so creative."
Any exciting projects on the horizon that you're able to share?
"Lots of fun stuff on the horizon. The basic gal in me is toying with the idea of a seasonal flavor . . . pumpkin spice granola butter, anyone?"
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