How to make almond nut butter
Almond nut butter is low in saturated fat and high in omega oils, making it a heart-friendly, healthy option for sandwiches and for baking. Almonds help reduce bad cholesterol levels, are high in protein, fiber and vitamin E and are high in minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Almond nut butter is easy to make at home, and it’s just as easy to add your own touches to suit your family’s tastes.
Measure out two cups of raw almonds and place them in a deep bowl. Cover them with water and soak the almonds for approximately half an hour. This softens the nuts and makes it easier to grind them in the food processor or blender.
If you prefer a roasted flavor for your almond butter, roast the nuts instead of soaking them. Place the almonds on a cookie sheet and roast in a 300 degree oven for approximately eight minutes, turning them halfway through the roasting process. Allow the almonds to cool completely. If you roast the almonds, it may take a longer time to break them down in the processor.
Process the almonds
Use either a high-power blender or food processor to break the almonds down into a paste. Place the two cups of prepared almonds into the processor and pulse to start; this moves the nuts around the bowl of the procressor or within blender, avoiding a ‘bunch up’ of ground up almonds around the blades while whole nuts are pushed to the sides.
Continue to pulse, using a spatula occasionally to ensure all the almonds are breaking down, creating a ground almond mixture. The mixture appears grainy and should feel a bit like wet sand between your fingertips.
Turn the processor to the on position and slowly stream in approximately two teaspoons vegetable oil or olive oil to further break down the mixture. At this point, the mixture may spread up the sides of the bowl, away from the blades. Stop the processor and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Create the butter
Add approximately 1/2 teaspoon of honey or agave to the mixture when it is no longer clumpy but still slightly grainy, and process until the sweetener is completely mixed in with the almond butter. Adding sweetener is optional, but does give the butter more depth of flavor.
Other flavoring options include maple syrup, vanilla, and chocolate. Add small amounts only so as to complement the almond flavor, rather than overwhelm it.
If you want a ‘crunchy’ almond butter, add a few crushed almonds to the mixture and pulse to combine. A crunchy almond butter works well as a spread on hardy breads and on crackers.
For a smoother butter, remove the mixture from the processor and place in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to further break down the almonds, adding another one to two teaspoons of oil. This method results in a creamier almond butter that works well for baking.
Storing the butter
The final yield from the two cups of almonds is approximately ten ounces. Spoon the fully processed butter into a small jar or bowl with a tight fitting lid. Keep the almond butter in the refrigerator to store; the butter should keep for approximately three weeks.
To use the almond butter, bring the needed portion to room temperature and stir to re-blend the oils if necessary.
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