Best, it's shockingly easy. It may sound complicated, but trust me - it's not. I'm a little embarrassed because friends (hi, Gabi!) have encouraged me to try this for years, but I dismissed it because it involved a cheesecloth, which sounded hopelessly exotic. (heads up: you can order a cheesecloth on Amazon for $3.99 without ever having to leave the safety of your home. I'm all about Amazon Prime when the temperature is 100+ degrees outside.)
It took a slight push from another friend this past spring (thanks, John!) and then a tutorial on You Tube that finally convinced me almond milk was within the realm of my cooking ability. Unbelievably, it essentially no skill whatsoever. From start to finish, it takes less than 20 minutes. Really. I can even make a batch during the "Red Zone" - the time of day every mother fears: the before-school crunch when you are serving breakfast, making lunches, packing book bags, and passing out briefcases. But like most vegan cooking, this too employs the "dump and blend" technique. It's almost fool-proof.
It costs virtually pennies to make and there are no added ingredients you cannot pronounce. What the heck is 'carrageenan' anyways? If I can't say it, I don't want to eat it (with the exception of 'quinoa.' Let's say it all together: KEEN-wah.)
Interested? Give it a whirl.
You will need:
- one cup of almonds
- 6 cups of water
- vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 4 dates, pitted
- a blender (high-speed not necessary)
- that cheesecloth thing and possibly a rubber band
- several containers (I recommend glass Ball jars)
First, soak your almonds overnight in a large bowl. This is really the hardest part - waiting for those little devils to soak. Oh, forethought. Make sure they are completely covered. You may want to cover the bowl with a cloth to ensure your cats do not use it as an extra water dish. (Uh, not like I'm speaking from experience or anything...)
Pour the mixture directly into the cheesecloth over a container. If you don't have an extra pair of hands, I usually clip the cheesecloth onto the container so it doesn't fall in. Rubber bands are helpful too.
Slowly pour the mixture in and let it strain.
-- 2 Tbsp raw cacao plus honey or Stevia for "chocolate" milk
-- a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and a tiny dash of cloves for a autumn-inspired flavor
-- brew a strong batch of rooibos tea (three tea bags per one cup of water) and use the cooled brew as part of your six cups. Add sweetener (dates, honey, stevia, or even a splash of maple syrup)
Worried about the calories? Remember, you are not eating the whole almond, just the milk you've managed to extract. In order to figure out the calories, take the entire cup of almonds minus the weight of the almond meal leftover (take 80% of that number since about 20% is water), then divide it by the number of cups of milk you made. Not a fan of math? I'll do it for you: if you follow the above recipe, it comes out to about 50 calories per cup, 5 grams of fat and 1 gram of fiber. I like to use a tablespoon or two in coffee/tea in the morning or in my post-run smoothie. Feel free to pour it over granola, cereal, drink it straight or whatever your heart desires. Enjoy!