Although I spent my childhood in the United States, it wasn’t until I lived in England that I learned to eat peanut butter and jam/jelly. It is OK to admit that my undergraduate days consisted of a wee bit of overindulgence in a certain amber nectar? And, is it OK to admit that those particular overindulgences occasionally left me feeling a bit worse for wear in the morning? Yes? Whew! I thought you might bail on me. So, on one particular morning in some student house or another where 50 people would end up crashing for the night rather than walk home in the drizzling, cold rain, I met a friend of a friend who was visiting from another university. Obviously she was from the Clever Clogs Academy, because she taught me that toast with just the right amount of peanut butter and just the right amount of jam was the perfect cure for a hangover. There, I’ve said the “H” word. But she was absolutely correct! A nutritionist might tell us that it is the combination of carbs, protein and purest sugar that does it…and she’d also tell 22 year old me not to drink so much. But before I descend any lower, I’ll just point out that that incident pretty much sealed the deal as far as my love for peanut butter and all its beneficial, ahem, properties.
Fast forward to the older, wiser (ha!), more health conscious me and imagine my delight when a few years ago I started seeing references to butters made with other nuts. As I am partial to stirring a bit of peanut butter into my porridge/oatmeal, my fantasies about all the variations I could have started to run riot in my head including *gasp* almonds! Dum de dum, down to the local health food shop I went (add cliche about record scratching noise here) to find out it was 10-15 dollars for a jar of these spreads! What the…!?
But look here, it doesn’t have to be like that. A 300 gram jar of almond butter was on sale for $11 in my local supermarket today…but the unsalted, roasted almonds in the scoopy bins at Pak ‘n’ Save (You know the ones. They always have people standing around them comtemplating the meaning of the universe while they decide what to scoop.) were on sale for $2.50 per 100 grams. I scooped out 300 grams and made my own for $7.50. Moral: Look for the sales. Make your own nut butter. Eat more yum stuff.
And here’s another thing about making your own almond butter. It’s stupid easy. Oh there are stages. And you will doubt your self and your almonds and your cheapo appliance you bought at Briscoes (like mine), but have faith. You can do it and so can your appliance. Hold your breath because here comes the complicated and secret recipe. I’m only sharing this with you, by the way. Don’t tell the nut butter people I told you.
Homemade Almond Butter
300 grams roasted, unsalted almonds
a pinch or two of salt and/or cinnamon if you wish
Put almonds in to food processor.
Turn on food processor.
Now, I know that is daunting so I’m going to walk you through the stages. In actual fact, it does take some time, up to about 10-15 minutes of blending and so remain patient and all will be well.
This is the ridiculously noisy stage where you think the almonds are going to burst through the sides of the bowl.
The almonds are starting to become chopped and look like dry breadcrumbs. If you are using salt and/or cinnamon, add it now. This stage lasts for quite a while.
Now the almonds look more like wet sand.
The wet sand is starting to clump. Now it is important to stop every minute or so and scrape down the sides of the bowl. You will notice an amazing, warm scent emerging when you open the bowl to do this.
The “This is never going to happen my food processor can’t handle this I have just wasted $7.50 on almonds and Marie is a big fat liar” stage. Big breaths, in, out, in, out. Keep scraping down the sides. It will happen.
The “Holy cow it’s happening!” stage. Finally, slowly, you will see the almonds start to really turn to paste and glisten with oil. You still need to keep the blade going for a while longer in order to get that smooth nut butter consistency, but keep checking and eventually it will feel a bit looser.
The “OMG, I have to eat this NOW!” stage where you get your Vogels in the toaster.