Thursday, May 22, 2014

Homemade Almond Butter

So I really, really love any kind of nut butter. I will eat peanut butter with a spoon and look for reasons to slather Nutella on anything tasty. Naturally, I'm in a bit of a dilemma for a few reasons. Most big brands put who-knows-what in their nut butters to help "shelf life" and "color preservation". And while they are delicious, I don't love eating such processed food. Here's the kicker--brands that don't use all these gross ingredients are really expensive. As a result of this, I've been living a nut-butter-free life for a little while. Sad, right?

Well, not anymore. My awesome cousin gave me her old food processor and it's rapidly changing my life. Homemade almond butter is the first thing I made--literally the only ingredient is almonds. It's super easy to make, and unbelievably delicious. Also, almonds are cheaper than almond butter, so I can (sort of) justify this as saving money. Right? Let's pretend that that's how money management works.

You will need:
 -Food processor
 -Neutral-tasting oil, ex. canola oil. (optional)

To get about one cup of almond butter, start by dumping two cups of almonds (with the skins) into your food processor. Lock the lid in place, and process!

Stop and scrape the sides down occasionally. Make sure you get that little crease where the sides meet the bottom! Also, don't let your fingers go anywhere near the blade. It's incredibly sharp and I'm sort of afraid of it.

Keep processing! It will get lumpy--at one point, it will probably clump up into a giant ball and you'll think that you've completely ruined it, but never fear. Scrape the sides down and continue processing, it will become smooth, I promise!

After about four minutes of processing, you will be left with wonderfully smooth almond butter. I wanted mine to be a little less sticky, so while the processor was doing its thing, I drizzled about half a teaspoon of canola oil through the safety tube. This just gives it a little extra smoothness.

If you want crunchy butter, you'll do this process slightly differently; you'll start by pulsing about half a cup of almonds four or five times. Then, place those to the side, and make the almond butter as shown above. When it's reached the desired consistency, throw those chopped almonds back into the processor and pulse two or three times. Boom! Now you have chunky almond butter.

This stuff is absolutely incredible. Flavorful, sticky, and nutty, this is better than any store brand that I've tried. And the best part? It only takes a few minutes and a few dollars to make in my own home. Store yours in a sealed container in the refrigerator--it should keep for a while, if it doesn't all disappear within a few days! I'm so delighted that this almond butter turned out so beautifully, and I'm really excited to experiment with other nut butters, as well as other food processor goodies.

You can make any kind of nut butter with this method. Buy your own peanuts, macadamias, or hazelnuts, and process away! You may surprise yourself with how delicious and simple it is to make your own high-quality nut butters.

My kitchen is starting to become more and more legitimate as the time progresses--I no longer have to use a fork to cream butter and sugar, for example! I can't wait to continue sharing more recipes as I utilize my awesome gadgets.

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