The Miracle of Almonds, Part 1: Creamy Homemade Almond Butter

So creamy, so rich, so satisfying… and just two ingredients.

Almonds.  These amazing nuts are truly a miracle food that I couldn’t live without.  I have been eating almonds my whole life, but in the past few years I have gone from having them as an occasional snack to entering panic mode if our stock gets below a few pounds.  Versatile, healthy, and incredibly satisfying, almonds have become a major part of our family’s diet.  And with more and more people avoiding peanut butter and cow/soy milk, demand for this miracle nut is increasing every day.

Almond blossoms and fruit.

Almond blossoms and fruit.

You can find a huge assortment of almond butters and milks in the grocery store, but why buy it processed when you can easily make it at home?

About three cups of raw almonds.

About three cups of raw almonds.

Wait, what? You can make those at home? Oh yeah.  And besides being easy to make, homemade almond butter and milk are cheaper, tastier, and don’t contain fillers or preservatives like many of the store-bought varieties.  And better yet, you have full control of the ingredients, flavor, and texture.  Almond butter can be made smooth, crunchy, lightly sweetened or even with some toasted flax seeds.  Or how about making your own Nutella-like chocolate almond spread?  The possibilities are endless!

For now I’d like to share with you the miracle of creamy homemade almond butter.  Get ready to live.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • about three cups of raw almonds
  • an oven
  • a cookie sheet
  • a food processor
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional).
Step one: roast your almonds.  Spread three cups of almonds on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes.  Once you start smelling the nuttiness of the almonds, you can take them out or let them toast a little longer for a darker, nuttier flavor.  Be careful not to burn them! I have done this before, and it’s a tragic waste.
Lightly roasted almonds (left) and raw almonds (right)

Lightly roasted almonds (left) and raw almonds (right)

When you take the almonds out of the oven, let them cool for about five to ten minutes.  Now you have crunchy, exquisite toasted almonds for whatever you prefer! Snacking, cookies, a frozen nut pie crust (all coming soon), or best of all, some amazing almond butter!

Note: you can also buy pre-roasted almonds to skip this step, but I highly recommend toasting them yourself.

Step two: Throw the toasted almonds in a food processor (one of the most essential and worthwhile kitchen appliances).
Within ten minutes these toasted almonds will be creamy almond butter.

Within ten minutes these toasted almonds will be creamy almond butter!

Step three: Press “on.” Let’s make almond butter!  The process takes about ten minutes, and the almonds go through many stages.
After about 1-2 minutes: starting to stick together a little. Push the sides down with a spatula.

After about 1-2 minutes: starting to stick together a little. Push the sides down with a spatula.

After about 3-5 minutes: Getting more and more sticky! It will form into a ball and seem like it's never going to get mixed… but be patient!

After about 3-5 minutes: Getting more and more sticky! It will form into a ball and seem like it’s never going to get mixed… but be patient!

After about 5-7 minutes: Past the "blob" stage, looking more creamy. Scrape the bottom to make sure everything gets evenly incorporated.

After about 5-7 minutes: Past the “blob” stage, looking more creamy. Scrape the bottom to make sure everything gets evenly incorporated.

After about 8 minutes: Almost there! I like mine a little creamier than this.

After about 8 minutes: Almost there! I like mine a little creamier than this.

After about 9 minutes: Perfection. Add the salt and continue a minute longer. Salt is optional, but I think it adds a lot to the final product.

After about 9 minutes: Perfection. Add the salt and continue a minute longer. Salt is optional, but I think it adds a lot to the final product.

After about 10 minutes: Ta-da! You're done!

After about 10 minutes: Ta-da! You’re done!

Step four: Store it.  Be sure to scrape out every little bit.  You can store your amazing, homemade almond butter in whatever you want, perhaps a re-used glass jar from store-bought almond butter.  I put mine in a jar I bought when I made peach preserves a while ago.
Check out how smooth and runny it gets! And all just two ingredients--almonds and salt.

Check out how smooth and runny it gets! And all just two ingredients–almonds and salt.

Smooth, creamy, rich and delicious... I love almond butter.

Smooth, creamy, rich and delicious… I love almond butter.

Step five: EAT! Here are just a few ideas of how to use your almond butter.
-Spread it on multigrain toast (try topping it with sliced bananas or some honey, or making it into a breakfast sandwich)
-Use it as a dip or spread for fruit (sliced apples and bananas are my favorites)
-Mix a spoonful into hot oatmeal and add your favorite sweet treats–honey, maple syrup, or my fudgy chocolate date butter (coming soon!)
Eat it by the spoonful.  I’m serious, go ahead.  But remember, while healthy, this is not a low-calorie food.
-Cookies: I’ve recently developed an awesome recipe for healthy cookies using almond butter instead of butter, dates instead of refined sugar, and a healthy blend of whole grain flours.  They’re super satisfying, healthy, and you don’t feel like crap after eating them! You can find the recipe here soon.
Creamy almond butter on multi-grain toast with sliced apples and decaf green tea. A super-satisfying, healthy and balanced breakfast.

Creamy almond butter on multi-grain toast with sliced apples and decaf green tea. A super-satisfying, healthy and balanced breakfast.

But wait! There’s more! 

Try some fun variations of your almond butter.  Before storing,  stir in other ingredients to make your almond butter as creative and awesome as you.  

  • Crunchy: Add about 1/4 cup of finely chopped toasted almonds.
  • Crunchy with toasted flax seeds: Same as “crunchy,” plus toasted golden flax seeds.  To toast: put about 1/4 cup flax seeds in a medium-hot skillet and stir or shake occasionally until they’re toasted and you can smell them, about five minutes.  Let them cool before stirring them into the almond butter.  YUM.  This has an amazing texture and flavor.
  • Other ideas: Stir in some maple syrup, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, molasses, or some fudgy chocolate date butter.
What are your favorite ways to use almond butter? Comment below!

Some fun facts about almonds:

  • They’re healthy!  Almonds contain healthy monounsaturated fats that can actually lower cholesterol.
  • In Iran, people snack on tart, salted  “green almonds,” which are picked before they develop their shell.
  • They are also a great source of vitamin E, dietary fiber, B-complex vitamins as well as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium, and a ton of other stuff I can’t explain.
  • Almonds are native to the Middle East where they have been cultivated for centuries.  But wild almonds, also known as “bitter almonds,” are poisonous.  Luckily, all almonds sold in the US are the cultivated “sweet” variety.
  • Almonds are gluten-free, and their flour can be made into tons of delicious desserts like this incredibly moist orange almond cake: http://swatibansalrao.com/2013/02/04/gluten-free-orange-and-almond-cake-with-orange-scented-mascarpone/

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Join me next week for the Miracle of Almonds, Part 2: Homemade Almond Milk.  Don’t forget to follow, like, and share!

Advertisements

4 comments

  1. Súper padre!! Me encanta la idea del blog y me encanta que es tuyo 🙂 I’m an almond butter addict (I’m about to buy Trader Joe’s stock lol) and this is a perfect post for me! Thank you for sharing xoxox Te mando un abrazo!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s