Thursday, November 18, 2010

Almond Goodness


Almond Milk

After having success with homemade nut butters I couldn't wait to try my hand at making nut milk and quickly found a promising recipe here from ChoosingRaw. Gena posted a detailed direction for the entire process, from nuts to milk, so there really isn't more for me to say.

But I do have a few tips and notes:
• Add a dash of salt, it helps bring out the flavours.
•  1/4 cup of agave made for a rather sweet milk, this would be great for oatmeal & co., but I'll try 1/8 - 1/6 cup next time. 
• I always wondered, is it more common to own a blender or a food processor? I'm guessing most people do own a blender (those lucky folks!), but a food processor will work just as well: I combined the almonds, salt, sugar and vanilla with one cup of water and let it run for a minute or so, then I added the remaining 3 cups of water and turned it on for about 5 minutes. I don't know if that was really necessary, but I wanted to make sure it was all well combined.
• I'm hoping I'll get a nut bag for Christmas, but until then a finely meshed sieve and a muslin cloth will serve me well. I poured the milk through the sieve first, then placed a triple layer of muslin cloth in a larger sieve atop a second container and poured the milk through that and used the muslin cloth to wring out some extra drops of milk. The milk has been in my fridge for a couple of hours now and there's no visible layer of pulp on the bottom of the bottle, looks like this worked out well.
•  I  was pleasantly surprised to realise that this works out cheaper for me than buying soy milk! I pay approximately 1,80€ ($2.45) per litre soy milk, the bag of almonds I bought will be enough for two batches (a little less than 2 litres) and only cost me 1,30€ ($1.77), even with the added agave nectar I'll pay less for two batches of almond milk than for 1 pack of soy milk. Yay!

Almond Milk


Almond Pulp Cookies

I was left with a nice amount of almond pulp from making the milk and I knew that if I threw it in the freezer it would probably never come out again, so I searched the internet for some advise. Now, there are a lot of recipes floating around, but most of them require a dehydrator and that isn't an option for me at the moment. Luckily I stumbled upon this Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe by Elana (from Elana's Pantry). I made a few modifications to suit my ingredients, but I'm sure the original recipe will make for some great (gluten free!) cookies too.

Vegan Choc Chip Cookies (from Elana's Pantry) - Modified

1 1/4 cup almond pulp
1 1/4 cup pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbl vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Visit Elena's Pantry for the original recipe & directions.

Almond Pulp The almond pulp should be as dry as possible, I tried to squeeze out as much water as possible (I used a muslin cloth).
Oil The original recipe calls for grape seed oil, but I used canola oil and that worked well.
Sugar Because I used almond pulp (wet) instead of almond flour (dry) I used granulated sugar instead of agave nectar, I was worried that the dough would be too wet otherwise. Worked like a charm.

• I'll experiment with different amounts of pulp in future, I wanted a quick solution and the cookies came out great and I thought it'd be nice to share this with you, but there's still some room for improvement. I will probably reduce the amount of oil and sugar next time too, they were a bit too sweet for my taste.

Almond Pulp Cookies


Almond Pulp

I wasn't sure how the cookies would turn out and halved the recipe to be on the safe side, which left me with some left over pulp, so I wanted to see if I could dry it and then process it to almond flour later. A lot of people use a dehydrator for this, but I think the oven would probably work just as well, just make sure to use the lowest temperature setting (50°C/122°F for my oven). I didn't feel like using the oven for such a small amount and started a little experiment with my radiator: I placed a sheet of baking paper on a sushi matt, spread the almond pulp on top of the paper and placed the entire thing on top of my radiator. To protect the pulp from dust I placed an old casserole dish upside down on the matt. The matt provided some much needed stability, though I have to say that my radiator has a flat grid on top and I wouldn't know how you'd go about this with other type of radiator. Because it is always rather toasty in my room, around 24°C/75°F during the day but less at night, I thought this would be a fantastic way to dry the pulp without wasting extra money to use the oven. I have no idea if this will work, but I'll keep you updated!

EDIT: This worked very well. It was dry after 9 hours, very clumpy so you may want to grind it to a more flour-like texture in your food processor. Put it in the freezer for future use. 


Almond Butter

Wow, step away peanut butter, I have a new favourite! This is SO tasty and it was so easy to do too. Just roast a couple of almonds in the oven (few minutes at 350°F/180°C, though I'll try a lower temperature next), let them cool before you throw them in a food processor with a dash of salt and some sugar, then blend. I didn't even have to add extra oil, the roasting really helped a lot. I ate some with a banana right after I made it, yummm. I can't wait to use this up so I can try a caramelized almond version for a Christmas season!

Almond Butter & Bananas


  1. I now want to make almond milk so that I have the pulp to make those cookies. On my.

  2. Wow. This is the best "ode to the almond" post I think I have ever read. Those cookies look YUMMY!! Awesome job!

  3. Mmm. Those cookies look like heaven! I got myself a nut milk bag this summer and it's really, really useful! I use it for everything, even for rinsing quinoa! :)

  4. @Allysia: Thanks for the tip! I never thought of using it for anything other than making nut milk. Now I REALLY have to get one.

  5. I love almond anything! That roast nut butter looks like something I'll have to make in the immediate future. Beautiful (and hunger-inducing) images!

  6. So fun! Isn't roasted almond butter awesome? Nut milk bags make milk making so much easier as well.

  7. Wow, I can barely decide what to comment on because there's so many yummy things in this post! You have me seriously jonesin' for some almond butter now.
    Your photography is gorgeous! What camera do you use?

  8. @muffintop: It's an 'old' Canon EOS 350D/Rebel XT that I got a couple of years ago (2005? 2006?). I use the kit lens (18-55mm) and a 50mm (the cheaper 1.8er) lens with it. It's a nice camera, but I do get a bit jealous when I see all those fancy new models with live view, gigantic display, video and all, heh. :)

  9. Your pictures are gorgeous...Well done!

    I love the bottle of almond milk......

  10. Ooh my! Why haven't I made almond milk yet? Well, I guess it's because I've only got a lame blender that wouldn't blend the almonds.
    Seeing as you're from Germany, too. Which food processor do you own? I've been dreaming of a Vitamix to make my own nut butters but it's just too expensive ...

  11. @Sünne: You should give it a try, even if your blender isn't as powerful as, say, a vitamix! I own a "Braun CombiMax 600". I used to think it was a piece of crap (pardon me), but it's been serving me very well lately. The size of the container is fantastic, but I wish the machinery itself was a little smaller.. It takes up A LOT of space in my tiny kitchen. I've actually heard that a vitamix isn't as ideal for making nut butters as food processors are, but I really wish they'd sell the vitamix-line for a more reasonable price here in Germany. I've been having a look at other blenders (for Christmas), but haven't had much luck so far.. It's quite frustrating. :(

  12. Thanks for you answer! Maybe Santa Claus could get me the Braun CombiMax for christmas?!