15 Mar 2012 Comments Off
I have recently discovered almond meal for making cookies and muffins. The baked goods that it makes are moist and delicious, and because they are made with almond meal instead of nutritionally void white flour, they are actually quite good for you. After buying almond meal for a while I thought in the back of my mind “I know I can make this at home, I’ve seen it done.” So instead of shelling out the four dollars for a pound of almond meal, I spent 8 dollars for 2 pounds of whole raw almonds. I know what your thinking, but that come out to be the same price. Well yes, if I am just making almond meal it is the same price, but when you figure that it is 6 dollars for 16 oz of almond butter that is where it gets to be a money saver. I have also come to make my own nut butters because it is cheaper to make my own nut butter than it is to buy them. Plus I can also control what goes into it and soak the nuts before hand, which I will talk about later. With the two pounds of almonds I can make one pound of almond meal and one pound of almond butter.
Here is how I do it.
The first thing you need is raw almonds. Why raw? Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors and you can decrease these by soaking them. I know this sounds like a waste of time, but try this next time you have some nuts, take notice of how your stomach feels after you eat them. Is there a heavy feeling? Like you might be full and like there is something heavy in the pit of your stomach. That’s because nuts are full of enzyme inhibitors. When you soak them this makes them much easier to digest. To do this for every 4 cups of nuts with 1 tablespoon of sea salt and then cover with plenty of water. Let this soak overnight. They will plump up a bit while soaking so make sure there is water enough to account for that. The next morning, drain the water from the almonds and dehydrate them. There are two ways to dehydrate them, first, place then on a cookie sheet and place them in a warm (150 degree) oven for 12 – 24 hours, or alternatively you can do this in a dehydrator at the same temperature. You will know that they are done because they will be crispy/ crunchy like regular nuts again.
Now it’s time to make your almond meal and butter. You can do this right out of the dehydrator, or you can put them in the refrigerator or freezer for a while and this should help keep them from getting oily too fast and allow you to get a little more meal out of it.
Pull out your food processor (you may even be able to use your blender but I’ve never done it this way. If you do let me know if it works or not.) Take about half of your almonds and place them in the food processor.
Pulse for about 10 seconds at a time, 3 or 4 times, until the nuts are pretty well chopped up. You don’t want to go to long or all you will get is almond butter and no almond meal.
Pour the chopped almonds into a sifter (I use a fine mesh strainer) that is over a large bowl and sift to get all the meal out.
After all the meal is out, return the larger pieces to the food processor and repeat these steps again.
After you do it this time most of the left overs will be pretty small, and you will be able to feeling the oil on them. You can do it one more time if you would like but chances are you won’t get much more meal.
Place what is left in the strainer in a separate bowl and do the second batch of nuts the same way. When you are done making the meal you should have about 4 – 5 cups. When you have finished making your almond meal place it in the container of your choice, label, and keep in the refrigerator.
Now take all the leftovers and place them back in the food processor and turn it on high and let it go. It won’t take as long to turn into butter as it would from whole nuts because it is already half way there, but will still take a while.
Keep it going until it all starts to clump together. That is how you know you are almost there, you may be tempted to stop here, but don’t, it’s not done. After this it will spread out and cover the bottom. Now it is done, add some salt towards the end if you would like. Place this in a container of choice and store in the refrigerator. Pull out a few minutes before you would like to use to help it soften up a little and make it easier to spread.
If you are looking for ways to use your almond meal check out the eat nourishing button on the right side of this site and search for almond meal or almond flour. Trust me, you will love the cookies and muffins you make.
Sorry that the words and pictures don’t line up correctly. I am still trying to figure out how this whole blog thing works and cannot get them to look right today.
Come back next week as I share my recipes for my husbands favorite treats.