It seems like all the nut milk recipes I’ve tried require an industrial sized blender. I’m in the kitchen, nut milk spilling out over the top of my blender, half of it still in the bowl, trying to add a little maple syrup to the batch and get the sweetness just right. I love, absolutely LOVE homemade almond milk (any nut milk, for that matter). The quality and flavor is far beyond what you can buy, and the homemade version has no carrageenan, which is a potential source of inflammation in the gut and could also cause breast cancer*.
But I just need this to be easier. Also, I’m the only one in my house of two people and three cats that drinks almond milk, so I’d rather not make a huge batch and risk it going bad.
Huckleberry Cookbook has my answer! A new almond milk recipe, with dates and a whole vanilla bean! Heaven. Nut milk heaven. Dates make things interesting… I’ve been loving dates lately! They are used in a lot of vegan and raw recipes, and I’m starting to understand why.
There are a couple things I love about this recipe over other nut milk recipes:
1. You soak the almonds in a small amount of water, so you don’t have a large bowl teetering (why does everything in my fridge always seem to be teetering?) all night, it’s just a small bowl that fits in right next to the kefir grains and the jar of freshly grated horseradish (okay I think I just answered my own question.)
2. Dates! I had a chance to use these large, plump and juicy medjool dates. Man, these things look luscious.
4. The quantity is perfect! One batch fits in the blender. One batch also fits in the nut milk bag (how many more times can I say that?), and one batch is perfect just for me. No more blending in shifts, no more adjusting sweetness over and over again, no more standing at the counter straining (because who needs that, really?) Invest in a nut milk bag. It’s way easier then fighting with cheesecloth, and you can reuse them for all kinds of kitchen projects (see Resources section, below the recipe.)
So here we are. A beautiful jar of almond milk that I actually enjoyed making!
It’s the perfect amount of sweetness, and the salt is something I never thought to add before. I think you could do it with or without. The vanilla is technically optional, but I think it adds a richness you just can’t get from a carton. Almond milk? Yes pleeeeease.
- ¾ cup raw almonds, whole with the skin on
- 4 dates, pitted
- 1 vanilla bean
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Combine the almonds, dates, and 1 cup cold water. Refrigerate overnight.
- Strain the mixture, discarding the water.
- Split the vanilla bean, lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a blender. Save the bean pod. Add the soaked almonds, dates and salt. Pour in 3½ cups cold water. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a large measuring cup. Pour into a canning jar or pitcher, and add the vanilla pod. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days. If it separates, just gently shake to combine it again.
- Swap out the almonds for cashew pieces or whole cashews.
- Reduce the dates from four to two
- Use a vanilla bean paste instead of a spendy whole vanilla bean, using 1 tablespoon of paste to equal 1 vanilla bean. The paste has great flavor and can be a great swap out for certain recipes.
- add in 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon and a sprinkle of cinnamon (only use a small sprinkle of cinnamon, or even leave it out. Cinnamon will over power the delicate cardamon flavor)
- Follow method and the rest of the recipe as directed.
*Source: Dr. Andrew Weil, on The Splendid Table
Large Canning Jar, Weck, Cost Plus World Market
Nut milk bag, Harold Import Co., Amazon (this bag is polyester, 11″x 9″ and is machine washable. There are tons of nut milk bags, some made with natural fibers which are quite nice. You can also use nut milk bags for making jellies, cheese and preserves.)
For another recipe from Huckleberry, check out these Strawberry Galettes.