Two Recipes In One
Milk has always been a turn-off for me. I never drank it as a child and its only use seemed to be for my morning cereal. As I started exploring milk alternatives, my first stop was rice milk. It was thin, like skim milk, and lacked any real flavor. I would use soy in my coffee since that was what most coffee shops carried, and I still use hazelnut milk in my chai and tea at home for a unique flavor. I've now made it to almond milk. After years of buying the cartons, I finally started making my own and the difference is amazing. Not only does it taste better, but it's easy to make and you can use the almond pulp for a variety of other dishes. Mine usually gets turned into energy balls or bars which, just like my mish mosh soup and salad (see previous post), can be flavored millions of ways using whatever you have in the cupboard. You can explore different nutmilks by using hazelnuts, cashews, or a mixture, making sure to soak them for a few hours before blending.
Makes 4 cups
Note: you can find nut milk bags at most natural grocery stores or online.
1 cup raw, unsalted almonds, soaked 4-6 hours, or overnight
2 pitted dates
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups water
a pinch of salt
1. Blend all ingredients on high speed for about one minute.
2. Place a nut milk bag over a pitcher or other container. It is easiest if the opening of the bag can fit around the mouth of your container to hold it in place. Pour the milk in and squeeze the bag until you have wrung out as much of the milk as you can. Set bag containing the pulp aside.
3. The milk will keep in a covered container in the fridge for 4 days. You will need to stir it when using as it tends to separate.
Almond Energy Balls
Note: the amount of dates you will need will depend upon how well you have squeezed all the milk from the almond pulp. The drier the mixture the more dates you will need to hold it together. Alternatively, you can try using peanut or almond butter as a binder. If you don't have a food processor, chop the dates as finely as possible and mix everything together in a bowl, kneading with your hands if necessary. Try adding your favorite dried fruits, nut pieces, spices, and seeds.
If you have made your almond milk but don't have the right ingredients on hand to make energy balls, you can freeze the almond pulp in an air-tight container for up to a month. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the pulp to prevent ice crystals and freezer burn.
almond pulp from making almond milk
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
10 pitted dates
2 Tbs good quality dark cocoa powder
2 tsp hemp protein powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salk
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until dates are broken down and mixture comes together, scraping down the sides as necessary.
2. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll into balls. Alternatively, you can press the mixture into a pie plate and cut out pieces as needed. Store for 4 days in the fridge.