Tag Archives: creamy

Homemade Creamy Almond Butter. Yes, It Exists.

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Maybe it’s just me that’s finally figuring it out – I’m usually the last one to figure stuff out.  Apparently, I’ve been making almond butter all wrong for the past year.

I wasn’t processing it long enough.

I started making almond butter after reading about it on Mark’s Daily Apple, a site where I first started learning about Primal and Paleo diets.  Maybe I read it wrong.  I don’t know, and I don’t remember.  I’d add some raw almonds, coconut oil, and salt into my food processor, and then whirl it a bit.  It would come out like a chunky nut butter, but it wasn’t very spreadable.  My son and husband would eat it anyway, spooning it onto apples or bananas or chunks of bread.

So the other day, I noticed a jar of peanut butter on the counter.  I was slightly horrified.  My son had bought it because he missed the creamy-ness of it.  Peanut butter is actually very bad, bad, bad for you, and peanuts aren’t actual tree nuts either.  Look it up on Google, or even in the dictionary, if you don’t believe me.

Hey, I love peanut butter, especially on toasted English muffins.  Mmmmm… that’s the best.  But I’m trying to eat healthier, and peanuts are a no-no.

Anyway, I felt bad that I couldn’t make creamy almond butter for my son.  I didn’t think it was possible.  So I went online and searched for recipes.  I found a lot, and they all stated that almond butter can be as creamy as peanut butter.  I love a challenge, and any experiment gets me excited.

I got my food processor out and threw in:

3 cups raw almonds  (I bought a big bag at Costco, but I know you can buy them at Sprouts in the bins.)
3 turns on the grinder Himalayan pink salt  (A large pinch of any salt will do.)

Most of the recipes I read had 10 minutes for the processing time.  Mine took closer to 15 minutes, including stopping it to scrape down the sides.

I promise I’m not lying about the creamy part.  I thought it was a lie.  I was standing there watching the almonds go round and round, thinking for sure it would need some oil to make it even close to creamy.  Every time I opened it to scrape the sides down, I kept thinking to myself, “Creamy?  My ass.  This is never going to get creamy.  Liars!

But I kept going out of curiosity.  Here are the stages I witnessed:

1)  Bolus.  It formed a large, clumpy ball, that just stuck to one side and didn’t move.  Then it just gets pushed around and around the side of the container.

2)  Pottery wheel.  I shit you not.  An indentation formed in the middle of that clump and, moving round and round, looked like it was forming a fancy vase.

3)  Creamy.  The vase was whipped apart and, I’ll be damned, it got creamy!

Mind you, this nut butter isn’t as smooth and creamy as Jif.  I don’t think that’s even possible, using a food processor.

Also, many of the recipes stated that if you add coconut oil or honey to the butter that it will decrease its shelf life.  I didn’t see any explanation of why that is, and I haven’t looked into the science of it either.  It does sound a little suspicious to me, though, because coconut oil and honey can sit practically forever, without refrigeration.  So how it could reduce the almond butter’s shelf life is a mystery to me.

Regardless, great add-ins for small, personal helpings are honey, shredded coconut, cocoa powder and/ or nibs.  Use your imagination and your taste-buds!  You can even roast the nuts, and then process them.

You can, also, substitute this almond butter in place of peanut butter in cookies and other recipes.  I’ve made an experimental flour-less, gluten-free cookie recipe with almond butter and cocoa powder that tasted, and had the consistency of, cake-y brownies.  I’ll have to perfect it first, before posting it.

Dear readers, do you have any good recipes using almond butter or a yummy almond butter recipe of your own?

Gluten-Free, Super Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

991059-p046I know I should write some clever, personal story about where the recipe comes from or what it reminds me of.  I just don’t have the brain power this morning.

So here’s the recipe:

1 bag Trader Joe’s organic brown rice pasta, cooked per package instructions and drained

This pasta doesn’t taste gross or bleh, I swear.  My kids (especially my daughter) would not eat it otherwise.  It tastes like regular wheat pasta but cooks for a much shorter time.  My Trader Joe’s only carries the penne shape which is fine with us.

Trader Joe’s organic whole milk
3 ounces
Trader Joe’s cream cheese
4 wedges The Laughing Cow Original Creamy Swiss

If you don’t have the Creamy Swiss on hand, and you don’t want to go out and buy it, then just sub in another ounce of cream cheese.  Total cream cheese in the recipe would then be 4 ounces.

½ – 1 cup Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese

Optional add-ins:

1 teaspoon dijon + 1 teaspoon horseradish, or
1 teaspoon dijon + ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or
Dash or more of your favorite hot sauce, or
A combination of the above.

After draining the pasta, put it back in the pot and put the heat to low.

Add enough milk to ensure the pasta doesn’t start sticking to the bottom of the pan, about 1 inch deep.

Add the cream cheese and Creamy Swiss, and stir to partially melt.

Add the cheddar cheese (amount is per your taste), and stir to melt and combine all cheeses completely.

Add additional milk a little at a time until desired consistency (and amount of sauce) is reached.  You can add milk while adding and stirring the cheeses if the sauce is looking nonexistent.

Take off the heat to stir in optional add-ins.

Enjoy!