[A favorite raw breakfast: chocolate almond spread on apple slices.]
Remember the days when there was only one kind of nut butter–and nobody was allergic to it?
I think I ate peanut butter almost every day until my late 30s. As a kid, I slathered it on saltines alongside chocolate milk during cartoon-drenched Saturday mornings; I ate it in sandwiches for lunch throughout my teen years; once I acquired my own kitchen in which to experiment in my 20s, I packed it into celery hollows for snacks, baked it in cookies, muffins or the occasional Rice Krispie square; later, I ate it straight out of the jar for an immediate PMS pick-me-up, or after a late night when I was too tired to cook.
When I hit my 30s and moved to Toronto, I experienced an almond butter epiphany. For a time, I gave up the previously favored legume. In the past decade, I’ve branched out to hazelnut, pecan, walnut, cashew and “mystery” butters (ie, a combination of several different nuts). Nut butter is definitely a staple in the DDD household, and one of my favorite foods.
These days, it seems I’m once again battling the mercurial ups and downs of my scale (ever since baked goods–albeit ACD-friendly–have reappeared on my menus). With summer thoroughly upon us (whoopee! yahoo! yay! Danks Gott! Hallelujah! Bravo! Yeeeeee-haw!) and the desire for raw fruits and vegetables in full force, I thought I’d take advantage and amp up my intake of raw produce, thereby simultaneously reducing my intake of grains and flours as a way to get back on track. This raw almond butter offered a key resource in the battle.
While I do enjoy almond butter made from toasted almonds, it’s never been a favorite base for chocolate nut butter; I’ve always thought that, no matter how much chocolate is added, the toasted almond flavor always predominates. It’s sort of like another musician trying to sing a duet with Celine Dion–whether it’s R. Kelly, Andrea Bocelli or even Barbra Streisand–all you hear is that wacky Chanteuse. On the other hand, whenever I’ve sampled raw almond butter, I found the taste rather insipid and bland (sort of like listening to Michael Bublé).
[Full, rich, totally irresistible chocolate flavor.]
In the end, it was the nondescript flavor that rendered raw almond butter an ideal vehicle for raw cacao in this recipe. When the two are blended together, the cacao really shines, revealing all its complex flavors from fruity notes of strawberry to caramel undertones and its own subtle honeyed sweetness. Yes, my friends, this is chocolate at its finest and in full flavor! I also used vanilla bean powder for the first time and was delighted with how it adds its own luscious fragrance and character to the mix.
Overall, this raw nut butter is easy to make (though it does take a bit of time) and is almost dessert-like in its chocolate intensity (in fact, once refrigerated, it firms up enough that the texture resminded me of fudge). Not so sweet that it requires toning down with something savory, it’s great directly on a spoon or spread on any (alimentary) partner you fancy. Drizzled on apple slices is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a decadent-tasting, still healthy and raw breakfast.
Who knows? I may revert to the classic peanut butter one day. But for now, Saturday mornings were made for Raw Chocolate Almond Butter.
And don’t forget. . .
Giveaways Gone Wild III continues! Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of my friend Amy Green’s new cookbook, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free! For a review, recipe, and all the details, see this post.
Good Morning! Breakfasts giveaway: Iris over at The Daily Dietribe is running her giveaway of my ebook until June 28th. If you haven’t entered yet–why, git! For details and to enter, see this post.
The SOS Kitchen Challege for June (Blueberries) runs for 6 more days! Enter your blueberry-based recipes and join the fun!
Raw Chocolate Almond Butter
suitable for ACD All Stages*
A fantastic spread atop toast, crackers, apple slices or whatever your fancy (raw sweet potato rounds worked really well for me). To make the spread suitable for ACD Stage One, simply sub carob powder for the cacao.
2 cups (340 g) raw natural almonds, with skin
3 Tbsp (45 ml) raw cacao powder (or cocoa, at your own risk–it is more bitter than cacao; or use carob for ACD Stage 1)
pinch fine sea salt
2 tsp (10 ml) whole vanilla bean powder or 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract (see instructions)
3 Tbsp (45 ml) coconut oil, preferably organic
70-80 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste (I use NuNaturals)–about 1-1/4 tsp (6 ml)
Place the almonds, cacao powder, salt and vanilla bean powder in the bowl of a food processor (if using liquid vanilla extract, don’t add it yet, but save it to add with the stevia instead). Process until the mixture looks like a powder, with no pieces of almond visible.
Add the coconut oil and stevia (and liquid vanilla, if using) and continue to process until a ball forms, which will then roll around for a bit before breaking up into a paste; continue to process for another 3-5 minutes, scraping sides occasionally, until the butter is almost liquid and very smooth. (This may require some patience; if you just can’t wait, you’ll still enjoy a somewhat grainier nut butter.).
Pour into a clean jar or container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will firm up in the fridge; for a softer, pourable nut butter, allow to come to room temperature before using. Makes about 1-1/4 cups (300 ml). Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
*Note: to make the recipe ACD-Stage 1 friendly, simply sub carob powder for the cacao or cocoa. No, it won’t be chocolate any more, but it will still taste yummy.
This post is linked up to Sugar Free Sundays, where you’ll find a collection of recipes without refined sugar.
Last Year at this Time: Sweet and Sour Chickpeas (with a surprising secret ingredient!)
Two Years Ago: Blog Break
Three Years Ago: Lentil Pistachio Patties (with a different surprising secret ingredient!)–for ACD, replace pistachios with cashews or almonds
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Would you believe that one of the only nut butters I *haven’t* made is almond? Silly Hannah! Will definitely be trying yours soon 🙂
I think it was the last one I made, too–the others just seemed easier for some reason. Almond takes a little longer, but with the coconut oil added, it’s just as smooth as walnut or cashew. Mmmm!
Laurie Meher says
YUM! I love almonds… I love chocolate… I think this will work! Where can I find the raw cacao powder? By the way… Michael Bublé insipid and bland? That’s a little harsh don’t you think?!
Laurie, I get my raw cacao from Upaya Naturals in Toronto. Re: Michael Buble, I’m sorry, but I never really “got” what allt he fuss was about. He seems a watered-down version of the original, authentic Frank Sinatra to me. Bleh! (but to each her own, of course!) 😉
Junia @ Mis Pensamientos says
this looks divine!!! love this recipe Ricki!
Thanks so much! I’ve been enjoying it, um, “straight”. 😉
Yum. I love raw almond butter. I’ve never found it insipid. And, I’ve never actually had the toasted kind. Maybe if I compared, I wouldn’t love the raw so much. Who knows?
Your photos with this post are beautiful, too.
Thanks so much, Deanna! Try the toasted and let me know what you think. 😉 (and boy, was I wishing I had a light box when I took those on a gray Toronto morning!).
Oh just divine Ricki although I still haven’t seen coconut oil anywhere.
Hmmm. . . .if you use Earth Balance, I bet that would work, or palm shortening, or even (gasp) butter, if you use it.
THAT is just amazing!!! I haven’t unpacked my coconut oil yet, but now I’ve got great incentive.
Yay! Hope you’re having fun setting up the new place. 😀
JL goes Vegan says
Ricki, this looks phenomenal! I started making almond butter after taking a raw food class. I can’t wait to make these additions for something super decadent!
It’s funny, I’ve been making nut butter for quite some time, but never tried raw almond at home before. . . I liked this much more than any of the raw nut butters I’ve purchased. And it really does taste decadent!
Jen Rotstein says
Great idea! Hhaha I love your Celine Dion and Michael Buble comments. Looks great…love cacao in anything!
Thanks, Jen! I’ve always enjoyed the cacao powder, but I think this recipe is the one I like it in best of all so far!
Ricki – I have everything I need to make a batch of this delicious spread. I hope by Sunday I’ll be sitting down to an apple slathered with all that chocolate almond goodness. I can’t wait.
It will be delicious! 🙂
Johanna GGG says
i grew up loving peanut butter (still hope sylvia might get over her allergy) but was wowed when I discovered cashew and almond nut butters – the very idea of this nut butter over apple makes me think I could maybe live without cake
I have to agree that cashew butter is something special. And while I loved this over apple, um, nothing makes me think I could live without cake! 😉
i’ve still got a batch of roasted almond butter in my fridge, and i can see why you wouldn’t want to use that as a base! this version might be dangerous… 🙂
I think you’re right–it’s a bit dangerous. 😉 The chilled version tastes sort of like chocolate fudge. . . oops!
Valerie @ City|Life|Eats says
This looks amazing. I really need to get into making my own raw nut butters. That is one thing I still buy, mainly because the last time I made nut butter my food processor got whimpery. Though my juicer has a homogenizing attachment that allegedly makes nut butter. Hmmmm.
I never had any trouble making nut butters from roasted nuts with my old food processor, which was okay but not terribly strong. This new one is a powerhouse and it was so easy to do the raw butter. You can always make a smaller batch and not tax the food processor! 🙂
Shirley @ gfe says
“Full, rich, totally irresistible chocolate flavor” … now who can resist that description? And then you have those photos. Lovely. I want some for sure!
Thanks, Shirley! Wish I could really share it with you, instead of just virtually. 🙂
Miriam @ Sometimes I Veg says
I always hated peanut butter. I can’t even stand the smell of peanut butter. But I have completely fallen for other nut butters. This one seems like a replacement for nutella.
Well, this is nothing like peanut butter! And I suppose it could be thought of as a raw replacement for nutella. If you’re interested, I actually already have a “notella” recipe on the blog (made with hazelnut butter), here. 🙂
Laura Jill says
Ricki, where do you find actual raw almonds? In the US and Canada, aren’t they all steam pasteurized? Do you order them from elsewhere?
It’s quite possible that mine weren’t “truly” raw, either–the label says “raw natural” but I can’t be sure. If Canada won’t legally allow truly raw nuts into the country (apparently that’s the case with cashews), I am okay with using these. . . but I’m not 100% raw in my diet, either. I order mine from a wholesaler called Grain Process Enterprises here in the Toronto area. Hope that helps!
Maybe that’s why I’ve never been a big fan of almond butter, because I haven’t tried roasted almond butter. I love the sound of this raw chocolate almond butter mmm.
Steve R says
Fantastic recipe – thank you for this! I have posted your link on my website where I think it complements my gluten free scones nicely. Enjoy!
Thanks, Steve! Glad you liked it. It’s a favorite of mine. 🙂