Almond butter is a wonderful indulgence. A nice change from peanut butter, not an allergen for as many folks, some would argue it’s better for you, and it does not have the problems of some molds and toxins that may well be what sets off some people’s peanut allergies. Alas, it is an economic indulgence. It costs at least twice what peanut butter does in the store and much retail almond butter is produced in factories that also process peanuts and so still is inedible to those allergic to peanuts.
Enter this wonderful blog-o-spere linking so many creative (and cheap) people to me! I found lots of people are making their own almond butter who claim that it is easy in a food processor. They were right! And inspired by my Little Sis who can never leave a recipe well enough alone… I decided I should put my own stamp on homemade almond butter to share with you. But what to do to almond butter? Clearly, chocolate should be involved.
This is not a great innovation mind you. Chocolate and nuts have been meeting in back alleys and broom closets for centuries.
Lots of my co-workers rave about Nutella ( a hazelnut and chocolate spread) and I have eaten it before – but it packs a whopping 21g. of sugar per 2 Tbsp serving. Sugar is the first ingredient and palm oil is the second, relegating the hazelNUT part of the nutella to 3rd place on the ingredient list.
This recipe of mine also foreshadows our next Baby Step which will address the notion of baby stepping away from the more dangerous food choices in your life (or your kids lives). Lots of kids eat sugar-y crap for breakfast…. Pop-tarts, sugar-y cereals, doughnuts, etc. One way to move away from those choices is to offer an alternative that still provides a nod to the devil in one ear whispering
“I want sugar with Ka-POW,
Give me sugar, give it to me NOW!” (scene shifts to hyper child jumping around and evil laughter in the background.)
They might not go willingly into your sunshine-y healthy morning! But, if you slather some of this on a piece of whole grain or Ezekiel bread, they might come along and they might even say “Thank you.”
So move over heavily sweetened Nutella…. here is the less sweet, all-natural, and kid approved Buttella(?). No, that won’t do. Almonella? Okay, sometimes you just have to go with what it is. And what it is, is:
Chocolate Almond Butter:
2 cups roasted almonds
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 Tbsp. liquid sweetener (I used Agave – maple syrup should be fine, honey might change consistency – could even be better!)
1 Tbs. walnut oil
A little time and patience… maybe another task in the kitchen to complete while doing this :-)
IF you are weaning a child from a very sugar-y breakfast or snack, then you may have to put a bit more sweetener in. My son loves this, but he is somewhat trained and does not often get sweets at the commercial level of sweet-ness, so he thought is was very yummy indeed. Taste as you go. If you use more sweetener, you might not need the extra oil. Watch your consistency as you go. Consistency is what this whole venture of making your own almond butter is about, so let’s get to the how to.
I roast almonds at 375 for about 10 minutes or until fragrant. It is quicker if you roast them on something that allows them to be spread out. If they are bunched up, shake them up every couple of minutes.
Turn it on and process until walls of almond crumbs are climbing up the side of your processor. Scrape it down and turn it back on. This is the patience piece. It takes about 12 minutes of processing to turn almonds into almond butter. If you try this with un-roasted almonds, I don’t know if that changes the times, but just watch, shut it down and scrape the sides down regularly as you watch the concoction progress from this:
And eventually (adding salt at some point along the way)… spin… scrape… spin…. scrape…. take that sugar devil! This.
Now this pic was my first nut-butter rodeo when I made plain almond butter, which was delicious and wonderful. When I made the chocolate almond butter, I added the cocoa and sweetener when I was about halfway to smooth and creamy. I placed the sweetener and cocoa in the middle of the processor, next to the blade and then scraped the walls of sticky almond crumbs over it so the cocoa wouldn’t go flying everywhere. I dislike flying cocoa.
Then when it seemed to be a little too chalky, I added the walnut oil.
Just keep on spinning until you get the consistency and taste you want. Don’t wait too long to add the walnut oil. My butter got a bit hot from all the spinning and I’m guessing that some food processors might not appreciate the level of work required, so don’t wait too long and keep an eye on your machine so you don’t burn up the motor.
Again, plain almond butter is very nice and makes a great spread and a great dip:
But there is something about chocolate. Here you go little sugar devil. I think you’re going to like this!
The consistency was nice and spreadable. I thought the flavor was better un-refrigerated but was afraid it might separate. Since then it has been left out of the frig for a few hours and not separated at all.
Let us know if this pleases the Pop-tart / doughnut / Cocoa Krispie lovers in your house!
And you never know, the little ones might be more willing to try the new concoction if you do call it Buttella!