- 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 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.
- DRYING 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.
- ROASTED 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!