February 2, 2015

C&C in the Kitchen

After months of friends telling me that almond milk is so easy to make, I finally decided to try it. I used this recipe from Oh She Glows as my starting point, but made some slight modifications because I didn't have any dates or a vanilla bean. Next time I will try it with the dates.

Let me begin by saying that making almond milk really is as easy as everyone says it is, especially if you have a Vitamix and a nut milk bag (insert giggles). I purchased this one from Amazon.

Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds, soaked in water
3.5 cups filtered water
2-4 pitted Medjool dates (or you can leave these out like I did)
1 whole vanilla bean or 1/2-1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of fine grain sea salt, to enhance the flavor

- Place almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight (for 8-12 hours) in the water. You can get away with soaking for 1-2 hours in a pinch.
- Rinse and drain the almonds (I used the nut milk bag) and place into a blender along with filtered water, pitted dates, and chopped vanilla bean.
- Blend on highest speed for approximately 1 minute
- Place a nut milk bag over a large bowl and slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the bag.
- Gently squeeze the bottom of the bag to release the milk.
- Rinse out blender and pour the milk back in. Add the cinnamon and pinch of sea salt and blend on low to combine.
- Pour into a glass jar to store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. Shake jar very well before using as the mixture separates when sitting.

Here is what the steps of the process looked like in my kitchen. 

And at the end you get this fresh, additive free bottle of almond milk. The taste is stronger and slightly different from the store bought almond milk I use (Almond Breeze or 365 from Whole Foods), but I think eventually I will get use to the taste.

At the end you will be left with what is referred to as "almond pulp." It can be dried out and made into almond meal or used for baking.

I decided to use the almond pulp immediately and make some banana bread with it. I pretty much created my own recipe. Next time I might also try adding some zucchini.

Almond Pulp Banana Bread 
1 cup flour (I happened to use gluten free for a friend)
1 cup almond pulp (I put it right from the bag into the mixer)
1½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
6-7 tablespoons coconut oil (you can use less oil if you use more bananas. You can also use butter)
¾ cup sugar (I used coconut sugar)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
3/4 cup walnuts (optional)

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan with cooking spray or butter. Whisk together flour, almond pulp, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
Whisk on medium speed, with an electric mixer, butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs for about 2 minutes. Add mashed banana and mix for another minute.
Stir dry ingredients into wet with a spatula until just combined.
Pour into loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean from center of loaf.

I made it into mini loafs, which only required about 30 minutes of baking.

And in the end, a tasty and healthy treat! And, nothing went to waste!

Do you have a favorite almond milk recipe? And what do you do with the almond pulp? I'd love to hear!

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