Almond milk + bonus pancakes

4 Mar

I don’t like cow’s milk. I know this is blasphemy to some, but it is true. The only way I can tolerate drinking straight cow’s milk is if it is extremely cold. As in, yes, sometimes I put ice cubes in my milk (I’m sorry). But mostly I just don’t drink milk. I do consume plenty of dairy products (mostly in the form of butter, let’s be honest) and I sometimes cook with milk, but I do not drink it regularly.

What I do love are nut milks (go ahead, make your dirty joke, get it out of the way). Almond milk in particular. I long thought I had no choice but to drink store-bought almond milk because I assumed that to extract actual milk from almonds must require a) magic and/or b) industrial equipment. However, I recently stumbled across this tutorial, which makes it seem like the simplest thing in the world. Also, how freaking good does the almond milk she made look in that picture? I mean, yum. Always one to enjoy a laborious and time-intensive alternative to buying something pre-made, I jumped right on this one. Well, sort of. I jumped right on ordering a nut milk bag (heh) and then I waited about 10 days for it to arrive. And then I jumped right on it. (Cautionary tale: I figured this was the kind of obscure thing one could only find online, but about two days after I placed the order I saw these in my local co-op. D’oh. Dear self, I know you love the Internet, but always check local stores first.)

Homemade Almond Milk

I soaked my almonds overnight and then got up on Saturday morning with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning (really) to start the experiment. My 1 cup of soaked almonds got rinsed and went in my blender with 4 cups of filtered water. I set it on “puree” and let it go for 5 minutes. I was impressed by how quickly and smoothly it seemed to process. My blender did not seem to be struggling at all. Here’s what it looked like:

It got very foamy in 5 minutes! I turned the blender off and let it settle a bit, then poured it into my newly arrived nut milk bag (heh) set in a bowl like this:

Then I lifted the bag up over the bowl and twisted and squeezed the heck out of it until just dry (ish) almond meal was left in the bag. I set the bag aside in a smaller bowl and then returned my almond milk to the (rinsed) blender along with 1 tbs of maple syrup, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cinnamon. I used less sweetener than Kristina suggested in her tutorial because my main complaint about store-bought almond milk is how sweet it is (unless it is unsweetened, in which case my main complaint is how bland it is – I am hard to please). I gave it a quick mix in the blender and then transferred it to the glass milk bottle I had saved for this purpose. I had a little more than could fit in the bottle with all the foam, so I put that in a glass to taste test immediately. The bottle went into the fridge to let the foam settle.

You guys? This stuff tastes so good! It is much richer and more flavorful than pre-made almond milk. The best way I can think to describe it is that the pre-made stuff tastes like you watered down and flattened the homemade version. I put it in my coffee and it was a revelation. Am I coming on too strong? I just can’t believe the difference. I am hooked.

Kyle says he would add a bit more sweetener next time, whereas I find the level of sweetness just right. So adjust to your personal taste. I also want to experiment with different spices. Cardamom, what do you think?

Grain-Free Banana Almond Pancakes

Since I knew I would end up with almond meal as a by-product of this experiment, I looked up uses for it and found several promising options. Cake, cookies, muffins, but I decided to go with pancakes since I was undertaking this project on a Saturday morning. Also, this recipe really intrigued me because it is grain-free. I am pretty convinced I have gluten intolerance, so I tend to save my wheat products for what really matters (read: beer). The recipe actually calls for almond butter, not almond meal but I figured I could try to substitute and see what happened. Experiments! (I love them.)

To serve two people I used:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C almond meal
  • 1/2 tbs vanilla
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

I combined these ingredients in my blender and the resulting batter was really, really thick. So I thinned it a bit with some of my freshly made almond milk. This amount made 4 decent sized pancakes. These babies are much denser than traditional pancakes, so I found 2 sufficient for a serving. Heartier appetites might want to make a larger batch. These required a lot more time to cook than regular pancakes and they have a very different texture. I used a 1/3 C to make each pancake but next time I might try 1/4 C and spread the batter thinner on the pan. Taste-wise these are great. You definitely get both the banana and almond flavor. I ate mine with maple syrup and butter and loved them. Results: Almond meal in pancakes = success.

So, to review, I took 1 C of raw almond, left them in water overnight, and the next morning I got amazing fresh almond milk and tasty pancakes. So. Very. Worth. It. (Also, it made me feel like a wizard of food transformation.)


2 Responses to “Almond milk + bonus pancakes”

  1. zenmaiden March 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    wooh hoo that looks delicious!! You got a new suscriber in me.

    • abigailhazlett March 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      It is SO good. I made another batch this weekend. Welcome!

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