Pumpkin Cranberry Swirl Muffins
Got some leftover cran sauce? Have I got an idea for you :)
Do you have a food processor? Does it work? Then you can make your own almond butter at home!
I remember the first time I bought some fresh almond butter – it was at a Sunflower Market in Boulder, which I think has been bought out by Sprouts nowadays. I miss that grocery store! They seem to be all over the southwest quadrant of the US, but haven’t made it to Oregon yet. Sunflower was my first experience with a “natural” grocery store and it became my favorite place to shop after approximately one visit. The coolest thing about it was that it introduced me to so many new things, and to buying in bulk. It definitely had an influence on my habits as a consumer and a cook – one of them being how great it is to have fresh nut/legume (peanuts are legumes 🙂 ) butter.
For lack of a better term, it just tastes a lot more nutty. If you make it at home, you can make it with no sugar or very little, which is quite different than what you’ll see on the back of a shelf stable jar of peanut buttery goodness (I buy that too – no hate for the store peanut butter!). It’s just great to have the treat of a natural and simple butter. And it’s really, really easy.
Here’s what you need:
Was the sugar necessary? No, not really. But I think it really heightened the taste of the almond butter. I wasn’t really paying attention when I bit into my “AB&J” for lunch the next day and was stunned at how rich the almond butter was (even though I had already tasted it) when contrasted with the sweet jam.
Feel free to leave out the sugar completely or replace it with honey.
Toast the almonds on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes or so. The exact length isn’t too important, but heating them is, just to make things easier on your food processor.
Add the almonds to the bowl of your food processor and let ‘er rip. It will take a while – probably ten minutes of on and off processing to get it to actually be a butter. Just keep an eye on your food processor and make sure it doesn’t overheat. Your butter should be smooth, but it will definitely be thick. That is OK!
Try it for a fresh twist with jam for lunch or with apples or celery for a healthy snack. I’m sure it will be good in sweet applications, too, but I haven’t gotten that far yet!
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