how to make almond butter.

here's to never purchasing expensive nut butters agaaaain!

i love me some almond butter, but do not love the price tag at the grocery store. if you have a good food processor, you can easily make this at home for substantially less than the price you'd pay in store.

can i get an aaaaaamen to aaaaaalmond butter aaaaaat home. 

i have a small little baby food processor that i use for simple sauces and breakfast bar type things, but grinding up a bunch of whole raw almonds........you gunna need a big BOSS of a food processor for this task. my parents got me this cuisinart one for my birthday, and it is great. 

i would not dream of making nut butter in the small food processor is what i'm saying. seriously, its like blending rocks. 

first, you're going to want to roast the almonds in the oven for about 15 minutes at a low temp - about 275 degrees. warming the almonds helps to kinda wake em up and get their natural oils ready for takeoff.

this step also smells delightful...i have yet to see a roasted almond scented candle, but there should be one.

hot almonds come fresh outta the oven and straight into the food processor all by themselves. add nothing else! no matter how badly you will be tempted to add a liquid.... 

for the first 5 minutes of running the food processor, the almonds will look grainy and dry. just keep scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula every couple of minutes and run it again.

after about 10 minutes of this routine, your kitchen will probably be earthquaking like mad, your machine smoking, and you will fully expect the food processor to just rocket off into outer space at any moment. honestly, there were a few seconds when i couldn't tell the difference between the steam from the hot almonds releasing or whether the food processor was starting to ignite and was about to burst into flames. luckily, 'twas the former. 

don't give up now! that part is a bit scary/loud/seemingly dangerous and you will doubt your intentions for ever trying to make this because you think the room is about to be covered in almond dust and cuisinart shrapnel.

but then, a magical thing happens. 

almond butter forms! just a few more minutes in the food processor and its mission accomplished.

at this point, feel free to add a little bit of salt and pulse it into the mixture. i could have done without, but i added just about a teaspoon of salt this time.

TA DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! you're the proud maker of fresh, creamy almond butter. for cheap(er), i might add! pete and i calculated that this batch (more than one pound) of almond butter cost me $3 to make myself. we buy whole almonds at costco, and a 9 lb bag is probably around $10...la dee daa, carry the 1, we say $3. 

**UPDATE**: i just went to costco (3 days after publishing this post) and noticed the 9lb bag of almonds is liiiiiiike $17....  aw nuts. when did that happen? anyhoo, at least you save some money by making nut butter at home. i got a little overzealous heeeere, sawwry. ***

and that is super exciting since i generally drag my feet and snarl my way up to the trader joe's cash register with my some $7 jar of almond butter. those days are gone. sorry teej. 

Homemade Almond Butter

Recipe yields 1 pound

Time: 30 minutes - 1 hour (depending on roast time // quality of food processor)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole raw unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. salt (optional)

Instructions-

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Spread 3 cups of whole almonds onto a walled baking sheet. Roast almonds in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. They will begin to smell oaty/like cookie dough/like holidays/marzipan. It smells warm & delicious. The roasting will help immensely with the speed of the nut butter making process.

Remove almonds from oven and carefully transfer them to a large food processor. Run food processor on high for a few minutes until almonds are grainy. From here, run the food processor on high and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula every 1-2 minutes.

{Do not add any additional oil or water! You will be tempted to. The almonds just take a while to grind, release their oils and smooth out, but it will eventually turn into a creamy nut butter!}

After about 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the quality of food processor) of running the processor and scraping down the sides, the almonds will begin to come together as a soft solid and resemble dough or clay. This is when you know you're close!

Continuing to use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the food processor, run it on low until the nut butter has completely smoothed out and is creamy and smooth and no large chunks of almond grains remain in the food processor. 

Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt if desired and pulse a few times until incorporated.

Transfer the almond butter to a jar and store in the refrigerator. Give the nut butter a stir if the oils have separated a bit.

Enjoy on toast, in smoothies, on pancakes, waffles, crepes, on fruit, sandwiches, ice cream, etc, etc.!

ย 

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qp

30-minute almond & pumpkin seed chocolate bars with sea salt.

october has been so fabulous!

it continues with these fantastic and simple chocolate bars, studded with pumpkin seeds and almonds.  these are so easy to make, and taste amaaaaaazing.

i used a mixture of dark chocolate and a little bit of milk chocolate with almonds.

i bought a big ol' bag of pumpkin seeds in the bulk section with no intentions of what i'd use them for. 

turns out, these little pepitas are super versatile and you can throw them into oodles of different things.

i've been putting them on top of yogurt & fruit, salads, aaaaand into delicious chocolate bars.

by the way, that persimmon has nothing to do with this recipe.  it was just sitting on the table looking all orange and cute, so i threw it into the photos for some extra fall vibes.

chop the almonds into medium/coarse bits, not too fine.  chop up the chocolate, too!

all ya hafta do here is melt the chocolate over a double boiler, and add your pumpkin seeds and chopped almonds.

i stirred just a touch of coconut oil into the chocolate to keep it moist.  i didn't know if it would dry out at all once all the seeds and nuts were stirred in.

mix it all up!

  freeze it all up!

after about ten minutes in the freezer, sprinkle some sea salt over the top of the chocolate while it is still a little bit tacky.

i sprinkled a touch of pumpkin pie spice to one half of the chocolate, just to see how it would taste.  it's not necessary.  i think i like the plain side better, but the pumpkin pie spice just adds a little somethin' extra.

stick the pan back in the freezer until the chocolate is completely hardened.  i gave mine about 15 more minutes before cutting it up.

chop the chocolate into various sized chunks, mostly bite-sized.

YAAAMMMMMMMM.

the sea salt really takes the cake!  it adds a lot of oomph and really rounds out the flavor balance of this delectable treat.

this sea salt came from pete's parents that they just got for us in hawaii :)

they also gave us a black sea salt and a pink sea salt that i'm excited to find uses for.

this could be a good easy dessert to bring to a party or as some sort of gift.  i think if you wrapped it up in parchment in a tin it would be easy to transport without getting too melty.  i'm keeping mine in the fridge just in case.

hey hey heyyyyy...talk about a thanksgiving gift for the dinner host!

these are pretty rich and satisfying.  pete and i each ate one piece and were ready to put them away.

they are sooooooooooo yummy, but rich!

p.s.  peter said, "they are perfect!"

...but then he said, "the salt is too coarse."  ugh. whatever man.  i suppose i could have used a tiiiiiny bit less of the coarse sea salt.

good thing, because i could eat one piece of this every day for the rest o my life, i do declare!

30-Minute Almond & Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Bars

Store in airtight container in freezer or refrigerator

Ingredients:

  • 7 oz. dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70% cocoa - 2 chocolate bars)
  • 4 oz. milk chocolate with almonds (I used Hershey's with almonds - 1/2 a "giant" bar)
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 3/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • sea salt
  • pumpkin pie spice (optional)

Instructions-

Boil 2-3 inches of water in a large pot.  Reduce heat to simmer, and place a heat-proof or glass bowl into the pot.  You don't want the water to touch the bowl.  

Coarsely chop all the chocolate with a large knife.  Place into the heat-proof bowl and let the chocolate melt.  Add about 1 teaspoon of coconut oil for extra moisture.  Continue to stir the chocolate with a spatula (about 1-2 minutes), just until melted.  Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.

Coarsely chop the almonds.  Add chopped almonds and pumpkin seeds to the bowl of chocolate. Mix well.

Line a 9x6 or 8x8 baking pan with parchment or wax paper.  Pour the chocolate & nut mixture into the pan and spread/shake evenly into all the corners until the chocolate is flat and even.

Freeze for about 10 minutes, just until tacky.  Remove from freezer and sprinkle sea salt over the top. Sprinkle a touch of pumpkin pie spice, if desired.  Return to freezer and let harden completely, about 10-20 more minutes.

Lift entire parchment out of baking pan onto a cutting board.  Chop the chocolate up into various sized chunks.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator or freezer.

enjoy!!!!!

qp