Elizabeth Arnott

Home-made Almond Butter

Almonds are a wonderful super-food, and essential to the detox maintenance lifestyle.  I always keep a stock of almonds, and have them as a healthy snack, sprinkled on breakfast cereal, salads, incorporated into oriental-style dishes, and included in delicious desserts.

Another way to incorporate almonds into your diet is to prepare your own almond butter.  Some health-food shops carry commercial almond butter, but it is, as always, so much better to make your own - and almond butter is so easy.

Almond butter is a rich, thick, delicious alternative to peanut butter, and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. You could make a dip with almond butter, herbs and soft, creamy goat's cheese; replace tahini when making hummus; add to smoothies; spread over hot vegetables before serving; stir into hot porridge; add to salad dressings; make a banana sandwich by spreading half a banana with almond butter, and topping it with the other half......  What is your favourite way to serve almond butter?

Almond butter
Time: 30 - 40 minutes
2 cups (10oz/300g) fresh, whole almonds in their skins

You will need a powerful food processor, able to sustain prolonged blending. Start with a few almonds, and gradually add more until they are all incorporated.  Keep processing, and every few minutes you will need to scrape the almonds down the sides of the bowl, and also scrape up the mixture that is forming at the bottom, so that it all blends evenly.  After about 10 minutes you will begin to notice a change in the consistency, as the oils start to be released from the almonds.  After about 20 minutes, it will start to look like a grainy butter.  This means it is nearly ready.  Another few minutes, and you will have a creamy, smooth almond butter. Store in a sterilized, sealed glass jar. Almond butter can be stored for up to three months in the refrigerator

Cook's tips:
* You can use raw or roasted almonds.  Raw almonds take longer to process.  Roasted almonds give a nuttier flavour. To make roasted almonds, bake for 10 minutes at 350℉, 180℃, gas oven mark 4.  For best results, use them while still warm from being roasted.
* You can add a little olive oil or flax oil if you find the butter too dry for your taste.  Add the oil slowly, drop by drop, while processing
* For easier spreading, and to enhance the flavour, allow refrigerated almond butter to come to room temperature before using
* You could add salt, or honey


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