Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk {with a touch of maple and cinnamon}

by Chrissy

Vanilla Almond Milk_LYK11Back in the summer, we did a post on milk vs. alternative (non-dairy) milks. Although the whole point was to highlight a one ingredient product, versus a ~12 ingredient product, containing chemicals and preservatives, we learned that homemade nut milk is about 8273 times better than the store-bought kind.

Obviously, non-dairy milks came out to be the back guy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Make it yourself and you’ve just eliminated all the bad additives that increase shelf-life and turn humans into aliens.

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Making almond milk (or any nut milk) is super simple, it just requires a little preparation and some sacrifice…like forfeiting the ease of grabbing a carton off the shelf, or storing it up for a rainy day.

Yes, you will actually have to get in the kitchen and dust off your blender, but it’ll all be well worth it.

Scouts honor.

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Here’s the step by step:

First soak your almonds. You only need about two inches of water over the almonds.

Then, you have to play the waiting game. Do yourself a favor and let them sit overnight that way you don’t have to think too much about it!

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After several hours of the almonds soaking, rinse and drain them. Add them to the blender with 1 1/2 cups of purified water. Blend on high for 3-4 minutes. It will get nice and pasty and will resemble the texture of hummus.

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Next, add the rest of the water (2 1/2 cups). Add the pure vanilla extract.

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Next up, the pure maple syrup. We like to use the grade B kind. You can also sweeten up the almond milk with agave, honey, or dates.

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Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon over top, but not too much. You only want a small hint of spice.

Blend on high for another 1-2 minutes.

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Meanwhile, prepare your drainage set-up, which consists of a fine-mesh cheesecloth doubled over, on top of a fine-mesh strainer, which sits on top of a large bowl with enough room to drain 4 cups of almond milk into, without coming up to the bottom of the strainer.

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Pour the almond milk mixture into the cheesecloth and let drain for about 10 minutes or so.

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Once most of the milk has passed through, be sure to squeeze out the remaining liquid from the almond grounds. This part usually takes me a solid couple of minutes, so keep going until all the liquid is released.

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If you plan on using the almond grounds to turn it into almond meal/flour, then spread the grounds out onto a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet, breaking up the clumps, and bake on a low temperature for about 2 hours, until they are completely dried out.

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Then, look! You can totally use them to bake with or use as a healthier bread crumb replacement. If you want to get the texture to a finer consistency, run them through the food processor for a minute to break up the clumps, and it will become more flour-like.

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You might need to save up a few batches of the almond meal in order to actually use them in another recipe, but they save well in an airtight container.

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I love to enjoy this almond milk with cereal, oatmeal, in smoothies, and in hot rooibos tea. I try to avoid drinking it by the glass, because it will usually be gone in a day if I do that.  But it is super refreshing by itself, or when sipped alongside some freshly baked oatmeal cookies.

You’ll never go back to the store-bought version, again. There is just no comparison to the home-made stuff.

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Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk {with a touch of maple and spice}

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup raw almonds

4 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking almonds

¾ tsp pure vanilla extract

1-1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (we use grade B)

dash cinnamon (optional)

fine-mesh cheesecloth

 

Directions:

Place almonds in a bowl and cover them with a few inches of water. Soak overnight or for at least 6 hours.

Rinse and drain the soaked almonds and place in a blender (either high speed or regular). Add 1 ½ cups of water and blend with the almonds on high speed, for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining 2 ½ cups of water, vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Blend on high speed for another 1-2 minutes, ensuring that the lid is on tightly, to prevent leakage.

To strain, the fine-mesh cheesecloth (doubled over) on top of a mesh strainer that hooks onto the a big bowl, to catch the milk. Be sure to find a deep enough bowl so that the 4 cups of almond milk drains through without touching the strainer. After about 10-15 minutes, press the rest of the milk through the cheese cloth, until no more comes through. Transfer almond milk into a large airtight glass jar; it will keep for up to 5 days.

Wash the cheesecloth in hot water and soak if needed to get out the almond grounds. Lay out to air-dry and reuse for next time.

To make almond meal: Preheat oven to 250. In an even layer, spread out the almond grounds onto a parchment/foil lined baking sheet, breaking up the clumps so it resembles coarse sand. Bake for about 2 hours, until completely dry. Blend in a food processor to grind into a smaller meal. Save in an airtight container for baking or breading.

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Chrissy

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10 Responses to “Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk {with a touch of maple and cinnamon}”

  1. Great post! I am definitely going to try this. I’m guessing it might be expensive? I don’t use a lot of milk, so I think it will be worth it. Thank you!

  2. Chrissy

    Hi Charity, it is not expensive at all! You can get the cheesecloth for a couple of dollars and you can wash it and reuse for next time. We get our raw almonds in bulk when on sale at Sprouts, or from TJs. The other stuff you will probably have on hand already! If you don’t have pure maple syrup, you can use some of the alternative sweeteners like honey or agave. Enjoy!

  3. Where’s the option to share this on Facebook? I want to, but I see nothing.

  4. Chrissy

    Hi Nicole, This feature is added!

    Thank you for asking and for sharing. We’re soaking some almonds for a fresh batch of this goodness, later!

  5. This looks awesome. I was curious as to the price comparison on average of store bought vs. home made almond milk. I am all for the all natural- homemade way, but was just wondering!
    Thanks!

  6. Chrissy

    Hi Kirsten, Good question! We buy our almonds at about $4 a lb (= about 2 cups of almonds), usually on sale at Sprouts or at Trader Joe’s. So this makes about 2 batches of homemade almond milk. I think the quart-sized cartons, which are equivalent to 1 homemade batch, go for about $2 each. You’ll need a small amount of vanilla, cinnamon and optional sweetener, but this is something that we always have on hand.

    So, it seems like it’s a wash in price, or close to it.
    The flavor is VASTLY different. Honestly, I cannot go back to store-bought almond milk. The freshness, consistency and flavor is that much better, when homemade.

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