Friday, August 12, 2011

Almond Butter

As mentioned before, I'm frugal and when it comes to buying or making nut butters, there's PLENTY of money to be saved when making your own, not to mention that you can make them healthier too.  This week I made 2 types of almond butter--regular (or plain as my kids call it) and chocolate.  Both start out the same, both are gluten and dairy free, both are SUPER easy, and both are pretty darn tasty!
Start buy buying raw almonds.  I get mine at Whole Foods in the bulk section.  FYI--they are really on sale this week, as in $2 off/pound!
Almond Butter
raw almonds
a bit of salt
some oil (I used both extra virgin olive oil and some Earth Balance coconut spread)
How To
Roast your almonds (for this batch I used about 3 cups of almonds) on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  Keep an eye on them and give them a little stir half way through.  This step is not necessary, but it adds some great flavor!
Remove almonds from oven and either let cool on the pan or pour into your food processor and let cool some there.  Be careful, these nuts are HOT!
After some time, whiz them around in the food processor with a bit of salt (I always use Kosher salt--the bigger pieces of salt--instead of table salt, just personal preference) to start chopping them up. 
In this picture they are course ground.  If you keep going and don't add any fat, you'll have almond flour.  However, today I'm making almond butter so I keep going and add the fat.  I added a few tablespoons (sorry I just poured it in and eyeballed the amount) of EVOO.  It was still pretty thick and I was beginning to run out of EVOO so I thought I'd try adding the coconut spread.  It worked great.  Since my nuts were still warm, it just kinda melted right in when I turned the processor back on.
See how it's beginning to look like almond butter?  I dare you not to try some at this point!  It was so yummy when it was warm.  You can keep adding the fat until you get a desired consistency.  I keep our almond butter in the fridge, so it thickens more in there.  I just stick some of it in the microwave to soften it a bit before spreading on bread.

Chocolate Almond Butter
Follow same recipe as above, but mix in some cocoa powder toward the end.  When I made ours this time I just stirred in the cocoa powder in the jar.  Just taste it a bit as you go and add more cocoa powder until desired flavor.
The 3 cups of almonds made 1 1/2  jars of almond butter.

Honey Almond Butter
Follow almond butter recipe, but add in some honey.  Easy!

Of course a sweetener can be added to any of these, but since a favorite sandwich in our home is almond butter with honey and cinnamon, I don't add any sweetener (honey, agave, sugar, molasses) to my butters when making them.
Almond butter can be used to make sandwiches, used in smoothies, enjoyed by the spoonful, cookies (replace the peanut butter with the almond butter), etc.  So good!  Also, almonds are a good source of calcium.

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