This morning I woke up thinking about almond butter. To put this into context, almond butter retails at R199.95 per jar, which equates to about $13. Which to me, spells too expensive. Add to it the fact that I’ve been dreaming about making my own, but the handheld blender I have wasn’t going to cut it. After welcoming a sparkly food processor to the kitchen (How did I ever manage with out it?!), I’ve been spending more of my daylight hours in the kitchen than ever before. So, today was the day it would all happen.
But first, let’s rewind a little bit. There’s so much online about sprouting nuts, soaking nuts, dehydrating nuts, and roasting them. What do you do? Which one works best for the kind of product you’re trying to create? It’s hard to decide without a bit of experimenting. Some articles online recommended roastingthe nuts for a few minutes before blending them to a butter, but I found many others that used raw nuts as is. So I went the natural route and this is how it all went down:
I placed two cups of raw almonds into a food processor, with the S-blade fitted.
The first few seconds of blending were very loud but effective in creating ground almonds. The mixture was dry and fairly pale. At 11 minutes, the nuts were ground even finer, as seen in picture 1 (top left) above. By 18 minutes, the mixture had begun clumping together (picture 2: top right) and I was taking care to clear the sides of the jug from build up. After reaching about 27 minutes of processing, the mixture became softer, as the oil from the nuts had been released, but heavier, forming a big ball as it swirled round and round in the machine. By 29 minutes, the mixture had began to resemble a nut butter, as seen in picture 4 (bottom right) above. It was at this point that I added some flavouring. I wanted a simple nut butter that wasn’t overly flavoured, so I added:
- a dash of salt,
- a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and
- a tablespoon of maple syrup.
I continued to let the mixture whirl its way around for at least 20 more minutes, until I was satisfied with the consistency. The end result was smooth, creamy, had a subtle sweetness, and a definite nutty flavour. The vanilla addition made for a great smell when opening the jar too!
You can make some too. It’s that simple. Almond nut butter can be enjoyed by spreading or spooning! Some ideas for use include, but certainly aren’t limited to:
- breakfast bowls,
- cookie batter,
- spread on toast,
- as dip with veg, and our favourite,
- almond butter stuffed dates. Yes. You need to try that one.
My overall verdict on the raw versus roasted debate? I am very pleased with the outcome, having used raw nuts. In the interest of saving time, and giving my food processor a break, I will attempt roasting the nuts for a few minutes, next time, to see how it does.
For now, I’m off to enjoy some almond butter stuffed dates. Yum!