This post has two parts. Part one is the making of creamy chocolate (or carob) almond milk. As you will see at the end of making nut milk you end up with a mushy mass of ground nuts. This can be added to cakes and other baking, though it is not as rich as un-soaked ground nuts. In part two, next week, I will share my latest clever use for the soaked ground nuts.
Chocolate Almond Milk
- 1 cup 150g almonds (or other nuts/ seeds/ rolled oats)
- 6 pitted dates
- pinch of salt
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cocoa [OR *carob powder]
- The day/ night before place the almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 12 hours. (see note)
- The next day, drain and rinse the almonds thoroughly. Place the swollen almonds into a blender or food processor with the dates (if your dates are hard then put them in a bowl and pour over boiling water, leave for a few minutes then drain). Add a pinch of salt (to bring out the flavours) and blend until the almonds are a fine meal and the dates have broken down.
- With the engine running slowly pour in the water until the mix is frothy and milky.
- Pour through a fine sieve or a cheese-cloth lined sieve/ colander. Use a spoon to press as much liquid out of the ground nuts as possible. Or if using cheese cloth gather up the edges and twist to make a ball, squeezing out the milk.
- Add the vanilla and either drink as it is or return to the blender and add the cocoa/ carob pulsing to combine. Pour into glasses and drink immediately, or pour into a bottle and store in the fridge. Drink within 3 days, shaking well to combine.
For some time I have been making nut and oat milks for my family as my son is intolerant to dairy. I am not sold on the use of soy milk as a drink. Especially for a boy. And rice milk isn’t very nutritious as a regular food to boost calcium intake. When I used to run cooking classes I often covered alternatives to dairy and was always asked the same question. What about calcium, can I get enough calcium?
Of-course, dairy is not the only source of calcium. It is ‘a’ source of calcium but not the only and not necessarily the highest source. Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, silver beet, spinach, rocket, parsley, coriander etc, all contain high quantities of calcium. But my child won’t eat their greens, was the next response. Guess what, neither do mine. What is it with children and the colour green? Though they do like pesto and don’t mind their smoothies a lighter shade of green.
Nuts and seeds are another excellent source of calcium in particular sesame seeds and almonds. My son gets half a teaspoon of tahini (ground sesame paste) mixed through his porridge every morning. And I make energy balls regularly for snacks with ground almonds and sunflower seeds. And when I remember to soak the almonds the night before I make almond milk. My children instinctively know when I am making almond milk and sit rather impatiently at my feet waiting for their glasses to be filled.
A batch of this almond milk costs about $3 to make 750mls. A 1 litre carton of almond milk in the supermarket costs $6-7, so making it yourself saves about half the price (and the packaging). You can also use rolled oats following the same directions below for around 50-80c per 750ml. It doesn’t taste quite as rich as with nuts but oats are also a good source of calcium and other nutrients.