This week marked a first for me in kitchen experiments. I baked my very first loaf of homemade bread, from scratch (i.e. no bread maker!). There was a lot of kneading (making bread is a full body workout, ya’ll), a lot of waiting, some serious through-the-oven-door watching, and then a whole bunch more impatient waiting. When it was finally done, cooled, sliced, (slathered with today’s almond butter) and eaten, I felt some serious satisfaction. I made bread. Breeeeaaaaaadddd! Breeeaaaaadddd!! With my own two hands.
Making your own almond butter can bring you that very same deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, but without the upper body workout, blood, sweat, and tears that making bread from scratch entails. In fact, your kitchen gadgets do all work for you. Hmm… maybe that’s why people buy breadmakers.
In addition to outlining the steps to making the very best, most deliciously silky and smooth almond butter, I’m going to tell you how I added some cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, and a touch of Lakanto sweetener, and sea salt, to make this a seriously amazing and healthy fall apple dip with no sugar.
There really is no big secret to making luscious almond butter at home. Anybody can do it, and the results are even better than what you can buy at the store. If you’re able to score some almonds on sale or in bulk, then you’re going to save yourself some money, too. I swear some companies must be putting little flecks of gold in their almond butter for the price they charge for a jar.
The first step in making glorious almond butter at home is to roast your own almonds, as opposed to buying them roasted. You can do it either way of course, but in my opinion roasting your own is the way to go. This really brings out the flavor and aroma of the almonds. Not to mention you can avoid the additives in commercially roasted almonds, and that slight burnt taste that some store-bought roasted almonds have.
The only paralell I can draw to my bread making experience and making almond butter at home, is that you may need a smidgen of patience. That’s because there will be times when you are processing the almonds and you may think, “There! Almond butter! I’m done! But, (sad face) why is it all thick and dry??” No. Stop. Take the spatula out. Put the lid on and keep processing for several more minutes.
This may lead to feelings of intense impatience. You may start imagining that your entire day, possibly the remainder of the rest of your life will be spent churning almonds into butter. That you’ll be standing over this machine, watching the blades spin… for the rest of eternity. Friends will come to visit, and you’ll have to shout over the noise “Oh I’m doing FINE! Just waiting for this almond butter to get nice and SILKY!!”
Then suddenly you snap out of your daydream to realize your almond butter is perfect! Runny, smooth, luxurious. Phew, 5-10 minutes really can feel like a long time, can’t it?
Get your oven warmed up and your food processor ready to work! Feel free to add spices and make this a really delicous fall treat. We’ve been enjoying our pumpkin-spiced almond butter on toast, with apples (our favorite), in oatmeal, and even on pancakes.
Do you make your own almond butter? How do you like to eat it?
The Best Homemade Almond Butter
Makes about 1 – 1 1/4 cups
- 2 1/2 cups raw almonds
- optional: 2 tsp coconut oil (makes it extra silky, but you can leave it out)
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp sea salt
optional, for pumpkin spice flavor:
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- extra pinch of nutmeg and cloves
- 1 – 2 tbsp dry sweetener of choice (I used Lakanto golden sweetener to keep it sugar free, or coconut sugar would work as well)
Roast almonds on a cookie sheet in a single layer at 300 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, until turning slightly darker and aromatic. Be careful not to burn. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes so they aren’t hot going into your machine.
Add almonds to your food processor – don’t add anything else at this point! Not even the oil. Now start processing. I like to process at a lower speed for the first few minutes, as the almonds are chopped, turn to meal, and then start sticking together. Then I turn the speed up for the next few minutes. Keep going! This is the hardest part, and your machine may need a break.
Turn it off and scrape the sides and let your food processor cool down a bit. Every FP is different, and the amount of time it will take for your almond butter to get silky will vary. You want the almond butter to look almost liquidy. Once your almond butter is smooth and silky, and will run off a spoon, then add the coconut oil, if using. Process for another minute or two.
Now add the salt, if you’d like. And if you’re making a spiced almond butter, add in the spices. Process for a few seconds to mix it in well, then taste. Add more spices until you have the flavor you like. Remember, the flavors will intensify as it sits.
I store my jar out on the countertop. Ours is eaten up within a week! I’ve never had a problem with it going bad the times I’ve kept it longer than a couple weeks at room temperature, however.
The quality of the almonds, and the at-home roasting step is crucial to delicious almond butter. Taste your almonds beforehand, and during/after roasting to check for the best flavor. Good tasting almonds = good tasting almond butter.
Don’t add liquid sweetener or water or other liquids to your almond butter, unless it’s oil. This has never ended well for me, and I ruined a batch or two of nut butter by making this mistake in the past.