Recipe and photograph reprinted with permission. From The America's Test Kitchen's D.I.Y. Can It, Cure It, Churn It, Brew It. © 2012.
- Servings: Makes about 2 cups.
In most households, nut butter is a staple. Peanut butter may be the most popular but almond butter is right behind it, with many of us buying it freshly-made at a health food store. We love it with jelly for a favorite lunch. If a storm is looming, it's at the top of our what-if-the-power-goes-out grocery list. It's a key ingredient in a cold sesame noodle salad. And it's a guilty pleasure late at night when a snack is craved.
This recipe is from The America's Test Kitchen's inspiring D.I.Y. Cookbook - Can It, Cure It, Churn It, Brew It. It's easy, quick, and will taste better than any nut butter you can buy at any store. Eat it when it's still warm and you'll swoon!
Why This Recipe Works
Making almond butter is dirt simple—raw almonds go into the oven and then into the food processor. Nevertheless, recipes proliferate. A surprising number call for vegetable oil. The thinking seems to be the almonds need help turning into paste, but really, all you have to do is wait. With each minute the processor’s metal blade whirs, it coaxes out oil from inside the almonds, and that is all it needs. Could you add flaxseed, or honey or brown sugar? Probably. Shards of dark chocolate tempt me, definitely. But I think one taste of still-warm homemade almond butter, simple, rich, and creamy, is its own argument.
—Amy Graves, Associate Editor, America’s Test Kitchen
Almond butter starts with arranging raw almonds in a single layer on a sheet pan and toasting them at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, just until they're slightly darkened and fragrant. But the roasting can be a dangerous game: You want that roasted, toasted taste because it adds depth, but if toasting is taken too far, the oven will churn out a popcorn-like aroma, and guess what? Time to start over. Trust me, nuts go from perfectly toasted to burnt in seconds, so if anything, err on the side of under-roasting them, just to be safe.
Process while warm: Let the almonds cool awhile, just so you can touch them without wincing, and then they can go into the processor. This is the fun part. Let 'er rip, stopping after the first minute or so to scrape down the bowl. At this point you should have a dusty almond meal.
It can't get much easier: After one or two more minutes more the meal starts to clump together. In another minute, it's sticky from the bit of oil that the almonds have released. Let it whir around for one more minute into a creamy paste that's almost a purée (like you see here). I like the barest minimum of salt in my almond butter: 1 teaspoon kosher salt per 4-cup batch of almonds. Add the salt and give it a few pulses in the machine. And guess what? That's it.
- 4 cups (1 1/4 pounds) whole almonds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread almonds in single layer on rimmed baking sheet and roast until fragrant and darkened slightly, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through roasting. Transfer sheet to wire rack and let cool until almonds are just warm, about 20 minutes.
- Process almonds in food processor until their oil is released and they begin to form loose, paste-like texture, 5 to 7 minutes, scraping down bowl often. Add salt and pulse to incorporate, about 3 pulses. Transfer to jar with tight-fitting lid. Almond butter can be stored at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 2 months.
To Make Peanut Butter
Substitute 4 cups (11/4 pounds) dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts for almonds. Decrease roasting time in step 1 to about 5 minutes.