Well, Happy 2014 to all! How were your holidays? Hell, how was your 4th quarter? All is well around Casa de Young, we’re coming in to this new year strong if not a bit bewildered by the whole 2014 thing and the general lack of rain in California (we’re talking scary apocalyptic drought, folks). Trying to stay positive and enjoy the, oh, 72*F afternoons we’ve been having. Makes going for a walk at lunchtime very pleasant!
So, how does one go from a post about Bacon Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies to a post on homemade almond milk? Simple: the overindulgence of the holidays left me sluggish, bloated and feeling like I needed to get my life together so my pants fit again. Been wondering why I’ve been wearing so many skirts, locals? It’s directly related to the amount of butter and cocktails consumed between 11/28 and 12/31. Feeling a little Jabba and jiggly, and it’s high time to knock this shit off.
Bon Appetit’s January issue had a ‘centerfold’ on how to make your own nut milk. As I’m sure you are well aware, nut milks in general are prevalent on the store shelves, with many people eschewing soy milk these days. I’m a carton flipper and ingredient reader, and in doing so I’ve noticed many of these nut milks are so crammed with excess sugar that it negates much of the health of them. The chocolate and vanilla flavors are the worst, with some of the most popular brands having a significant amount of added sugars. We all know that almost EVERYTHING is more tasty with sugar, just like nearly everything tastes better with bacon. Neither of these things belong in nut milk though.
I’ve made the recipe a solid half dozen times in the last few weeks, because it’s so darn easy and tasty. I’ve only made almond milk, but they say you can use pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc. I’m thinking hazelnut would be tasty and plan to make that one soon.
The price is right on this, too. Most of the boxes of nut milks at the store are $3.50 – $4 for an 8 cup carton, and the single cup of organic almonds it takes to make 4 cups of nut milk costs me about $1 from the bulk bins at my little local mart (so, $2 for an 8 cup amount). Since I’m always trying to save a buck and a tree, I can forego the processing plant and the packaging, making this at home (so satisfying!) and storing it in one of my cute pitchers (so cute!). It’s perfect in smoothies and tastes so good in coffee.
(Sorry for the ugly picture, soaked almonds are less than photogenic and I can’t exactly find my ‘real’ camera right now so this is from my phone)
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Makes about 4 cups
Special equipment: a blender and a flour sack towel/couple layers of cheesecloth
Soak 1 cup of almonds (unsalted, skins on, regular old boring-ass almonds) in water overnight in a bowl or jar, making sure to cover them with enough water to have an inch or so over their nutty little heads. Soak at least 12 hours but you can go for a bit longer. The longer they soak the creamier your milk comes out.
After soaking, drain and discard the soaking water and add the nuts to a blender with 4 cups of hot water (not boiling, just nice and hot). Clap on the lid, remove the little clear thingy on the top to let steam escape but rest your flour sack towel/cheesecloth over the top and hang on tight (you want the heat to go out so you don’t blow the top off, but hold on to the cloth so you don’t end up with ground almonds and water all over your house). Blend for 2 minutes (you can let go of the lid after the first few seconds without fear of flying nut bits).
Spread your cheesecloth or flour sack towel over a large bowl with a spout or your chosen storage vessel if it’s heat safe (I use my 8 cup Pyrex measure). Pour the contents of the blender into the cloth, gather the ends up so as not to let out any of the grit, and squeeze out all of the almond milk. Discard the contents of the towel (or use in muffins if you’re feeling thrifty). Add a pinch of salt and sweetener of your choice if desired: honey is tasty as is maple syrup or agave, but plain tastes mighty fine as well. Let cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge. Lasts about a week if you don’t drink it faster.