I think I need to attend an AA meeting. Almond-holics Annonymous. I’m going to OD if I don’t stop consuming so many of them. I haven’t been able to get enough homemade almond milk. Ever since I started making it fresh in my Vitamix, it’s what I crave when I’m thirsty. Of course, I also eat almonds as snacks and use almond butter in recipes. I decided to give almonds a rest (temporarily) and try recipes with cashews. Consider it my almond probation. Don’t get me wrong; almonds are great for you. I just need more variety.
Until last week, I had no idea how easy it was to make cashew milk, or how refreshing it was. It’s even easier than almond milk because you don’t have to strain it! It’s creamy, completely smooth, has a mild flavor, and works well in any recipe that calls for milk. I’ve used it over cereal, in pancakes, as the base for smoothies, in vegan ranch dressing, and in mushroom gravy so far. All of them turned out great!
All you have to do is soak 1/2 cup raw cashews for a few hours or overnight, drain & rinse, and then blend in a high-powered blender with 2 cups of water until completley smooth. You don’t even have to strain it! I love the pure white bubbles!
Cashew butter (like peanut butter, but with cashews, not like stick butter you bake with) requires you to burn a few calories. Seriously, you’ll build your biceps while making this, but it’s totally worth it!
Add 24 oz of raw cashews to a Vitamix (no promises with other blenders). I know that sounds like a lot, but DON’T try this with 1 or 2 cups of cashews. Once the motor starts chugging, you’ve got to have enough cashews in there for it to “pull.” If you don’t have enough, the blades will just be pulling at air and the motor will overheat in a fruitless attempt to grind the nuts.
Run the Vitamix on high, pushing the nuts into the blades. Here’s where you’re going to get a good workout. Keep pressing. It will take a lot of muscle at first, but it will get easier. Now not to scare you, but if you’ve never made nut butter in your Vitamix before (I hadn’t before I made this), your Vitamix may sound a little like it’s protesting when you make this. It made me a little nervous. The motor will make “chugging” sounds like it’s working really hard to pull the dry nuts into the blades. IT’S TOTALLY FINE! Just keep pressing the mixture into the blades with the tamper and let the Vitamix do its job until the mixture is creamy. Some folks say that the motor noise will change when the mixture is done. I never heard this, but maybe I didn’t go long enough. I just stopped when it looked smooth.
Once the mixture cools (it will be slightly warm and so will you), store in an airtight container in the fridge.
You’ll notice that cashew butter isn’t as oily as other butters. You can take a spoonful and shape it in your hand like Play-Doh. If you want it to be spreadable on bread of crackers, I imagine you could mix in a little coconut oil, although I haven’t tried this.
I personally like the thickness of cashew butter. I’ve found myself standing in front of the fridge, rolling it into little balls in my hands, and eating it like raw cookie dough. It’s SO GOOD! Even though you don’t add any sugar, it has a mildly sweet taste. It’s great for a snack with fruit, by itself, added to smoothies, or as a base for raw cookies or truffles. I imagine it would be great for thickening sauces and gravies as well.
Stay tuned tomorrow for a raw chocolate truffle recipe using homemade cashew butter! 🙂