I'd never tried almond butter before making this batch a few weeks ago. Sure, I've heard plenty of people rave about it, and I've seen it on the shelves at the grocery store when I'm grabbing peanut butter, but I've never really been tempted to buy it. As I've mentioned countless times, I'm not really a fan of nuts so I didn't expect to like it. And the jars are too pricey for something that might just end up in the garbage at some point.
But then it occurred to me I could make a much smaller portion myself at home, and for a fraction of the price. And I'll admit, I was curious. Though I'm not big on almonds, I definitely enjoy almond-flavored things, such as extract, so maybe I was missing out on something? As luck would have it, I've had this giant bag of almonds from BJ's in my freezer for a while, and I was itching to use the last of it to clear some space. Plus, we were heading to Shane's parents' house for the weekend, and if I totally hated the almond butter, I was pretty sure they'd be happy to take it off my hands.
I was surprised by just how simple it was to make this almond butter at home. You only need four ingredients, and your food processor does most of the heavy lifting for you. The almonds are tossed with maple syrup and roasted, then pulsed with salt and oil in the food processor until they are transformed into thick and creamy almond butter! I'll warn you now, it will take some time for the transformation to occur and, if you're like me, you'll feel skeptical that it's ever going to happen as the nuts clump and turn into one big mass. I found this site, which includes step-by-step photos of the process really helped me feel I was on the right track.
For the record, I was missing out. This almond butter was so good! I ate it by the spoonful straight from the bowl, enjoying it more with each bite. I did eventually find a little single serving package of almond butter at my grocery store and I tried it for the sake of comparison. I preferred the flavor of the homemade, especially with the hint of sweetness from the maple syrup. The store-bought version was a tad thicker too, but I'm really splitting hairs here. I'm looking forward to trying other flavor variations and finding new ways to enjoy it at home!
Homemade Maple Almond Butter
from Food in Jars
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2-3 teaspoons canola oil
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silpat (parchment would probably be ok too, though I haven't tried).
Spread the almonds on the prepared baking sheet then drizzle with the maple syrup. Toss to coat evenly. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring the almonds at least once halfway through. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the almonds to cool for at least 10 minutes.
Transfer the cooled almonds to the bowl of your food processor. Add the salt. Begin processing to break up the nuts. Add a drizzle of the oil and process for about 30 seconds, then stop the machine and scrape down the sides. Repeat until your almond butter reaches its desired consistency - it may take a while (mine was nearly 7 minutes), so don't be concerned if it's slow-going. The amount of oil you'll need will depend on the moisture content of your almonds, and your desired consistency.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.