A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the benefits of almonds and promised to post instructions on how to make your own almond butter. If you buy almond butter in the shop it is quite expensive. However, if you want organic almond butter you may as well buy it as making your own would only save you a few pence. But if you're happy to use regular almonds, making your own is cheaper. So, here are the instructions:
400 g almonds
That's it. Really. When I talk about making my own almond butter, people often think that you need to add coconut or olive oil to make it runnier, but you don't. All you need is almonds, a food processor and a little patience.
You don't need a very fancy or powerful food processor, it just needs to have an S-blade, which is standard anyway. Apparently you can make almond (or peanut) butter using a high-speed blender. I've tried it and find it easier with an ordinary food processor.
These instructions are for 'dark almond butter', i.e. you process the almonds with the skins on. 'White almond butter' is made from blanched almonds. I've tried making that, but found that for some reason it took much longer for the almonds to break up and the result wasn't as smooth. The taste is not very different anyway, if anything the dark version tastes stronger and better.
I am showing the different stages below and the actual processing might take about 20 - 30 minutes in total, but please note that I do this over several hours! If you let the machine run for this long, the motor can overheat and you'll damage your machine. I always keep my hand on the machine and when I feel it getting warm, I stop it and wait until it has cooled down again.
- Spread your almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and gently roast for 15 minutes at 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. Roasting the almonds gives a nicer flavour and if you process them while still warm they break up and release the oil more easily, but it works with raw almonds, too. If you want to make raw almond butter, just skip this step.
- Let the almonds cool a little, but transfer them to the food processor while still warm. Switch on the food processor. At first, you will get ground almonds/almond flour.
- Before long, the ground almonds will start to 'crawl' up the sides of the bowl and you'll have to stop the food processor every now and again to push them down.
- Eventually you get a texture similar to crumble.
- Then it starts to look like a ball of dough ...
- ... which gets softer and smoother after some time and starts bouncing around the bowl.
- Then it breaks down into a thick paste. This is where people often think that's as good as it gets and stop, but be patient: There's room for improvement.
- Eventually the almonds will release the oil and the paste will turn into a thick, but runny almond butter.
- You can then pour it into a clean jam jar. Done.
And that's it. Perfect almond butter.
Tomorrow's Nutrilicious News will have a few more suggestions on what to do with almond butter. Apart from licking it off a spoon ...