“Milking the almonds” and making crackers

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Have you ever heard the joke about vegans, that says “the most difficult part about being a vegan is waking up at 5 a.m. to milk the almonds”? I have always found it rather funny, although now that I have actually made my own almond milk (!), I find it funnier.

After Christmas, I visited Sur La Table, where I got a really good deal on an appliance I’ve wanted for awhile now, an air fryer (more on that in a later post!) While I was there, I came across a nut milk bag, which had a recipe and procedure on the back. I had to try it. I wondered how hard it would be to make.

Honestly, the hardest part was waiting 24 hours while the raw almonds soaked in water. The rest was a breeze. Basically, you soak a cup of almonds in water, rinse off and drain, then blend the almonds with 2 cups of fresh water for 2 minutes. I also added a half tablespoon of vanilla extract into it, and next time I am going to add some liquid stevia. Then, you take a large bowl and position the bag inside so that you can pour the almond and water mixture into the bag. The almond milk will start to seep through the bag into the bowl. Once the mixture is in the bag, you tighten the drawstring and start squeezing the bag from above. You continue to squeeze until you have gotten as much of the liquid out of the bag as possible.

This leaves you with the rich, creamy almond milk in the bowl, and a bag full of almond pulp. You can place the almond milk in a jar and place it in the fridge (it will separate a bit, but you just need to shake it up before drinking or using in recipes). As far as what to do with the almond pulp, there are so many recipes online for what you can create with it! I ended up making sweet crackers! They’re the best gluten free crackers I have had in a while. I can’t wait to make some that are savory rather than sweet, though!

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Here is the recipe for the crackers:

Ingredients:

  • almond pulp left over from the above almond milk-making description
  • 1 tbsp sugar (a vegan liquid sugar would work well too, such as maple syrup or agave)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vegan butter flavoring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together almond pulp and other ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. On a piece of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet, roll the dough into a ball. You may need to knead it a bit with your hands first.
  4. Place another piece of parchment paper over the dough ball and flatten with your hands a bit. Then roll it out to a thin layer, between 1/8″-1/4.”
  5. Take off one side of the parchment paper, leaving one piece of parchment on the cookie sheet with the rolled out dough on top. This was a challenge for me…I was adapting this from a recipe that didn’t explain this part that clearly and I had to repeat this several times. The dough gets rather soft and sticky, so be careful and patient.
  6. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into even squares in a checker pattern. The crackers do not need to have space between them yet. Leave them next to each other as they are. You will be flipping and separating them later. It will be impossible to do at this point.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. It’s possible that you may need to check to see if they are beginning to brown earlier than that. If they are (checking after 10-15 minutes), separate and flip them with a spatula. Bake for another 5-10 additional minutes (or more if necessary…do not let them get too golden or brown).
  8. Voila! Experiment with other flavors, adding spices or herbs, etc. Cinnamon would be a good addition for this recipe.

 

 

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Use the leftover apple cinnamon syrup to make apple cinnamon roasted peanuts! (Recipe)

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Okay, so my recent cupcake idea (posted the other day-the one before this one- the apple cinnamon cupcakes) actually branched off from my desire to have vegan “honey” roasted peanuts. I had thought it would be cool to try and replicate Bee Free Honee which is made from apples. Then I decided after some research to add some cinnamon to it, which resulted in the cupcake idea. However, I still had a hankering for the peanuts, and had plenty of leftover apple cinnamon syrup from the cupcakes. (I had also put the syrup on some pancakes I made, which was delicious!)

I’ve also been toying with getting vegan peanut brittle I’ve been seeing at my local grocery store, except it has some ingredients I try to avoid like high fructose corn syrup and such in it…So this was a good alternative.

The basic skeleton of this recipe came from Miss Kitchen Witch, another vegan blog. You should try that recipe, too!

I’m re-writing the recipe I used even though much of it is similar to make it easier for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound unsalted dry roasted peanuts (I’ve never seen blanched peanuts around me so this is the next best thing. I think it reduces the cooking time slightly due to them being roasted instead of blanched).
  • 1/3 cup apple cinnamon syrup from my Apple Cinnamon Cupcake recipe
  • 3 tbsp apple butter, store bought or homemade
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance buttery sticks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp coconut palm sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray a hefty coating of cooking oil on top.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the syrup, apple butter, Earth Balance, and salt on medium low heat until the Earth Balance melts.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Place peanuts in a large bowl (one that won’t melt when you pour in the sauce) and coat completely with the sauce.
  6. Transfer to the baking sheet.
  7. Spread out in a single layer.
  8. Heat for 5 minutes, take out, then stir with a wooden spoon. Be sure to keep them in a single layer.
  9. Continue baking for 5 minutes at a time and then stirring until about 20 minutes have passed. At twenty minutes they should be done, I could tell by eating one. I think the peanuts would get a bit crispy and burned past this. But feel free to experiment, they may need an additional 5-10 minutes more.

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