The popularity for nut butters is spreading, literally. Most people are familiar with peanut butter, but a nut butter that is healthier and gaining popularity is almond butter.
Almond Butter is a spreadable nut butter commonly used for cooking and baking. The butter is also commonly used as a sauce or a topping for fresh baked bread and sweets. It also can be used as a snack when spread on crackers or veggies.
Almond butter is a great alternative and change to use instead of making a traditional ‘ole peanut butter sandwich. Although peanut butter is a good source of protein, it is filled with hydrogenated oils and a lot of sugar. Almond butter is a much better choice because it contains no added ingredients or preservatives. Almond butter is only made up of almonds, crushed up and smoothed into a spread. Almond butter is a good source of protein; it's packed with monounsaturated fats, that are good for the heart, and helps when you want to control blood sugar.
The best way to eat almond butter is organic and raw. Cooking the almonds changes their chemistry and takes out nutrients. If raw almond butter is not your style, you can opt for an organic roasted almond butter. Roasting the almonds brings out their flavor and aroma.
Almond butter tends to be a bit more expensive than peanut butter. It is a bit grittier than peanut butter, but it can substitute for peanut butter in many recipes. The great thing about the butter is that it is actually very easy to make. Making it yourself is cheaper and you can play around with consistency and flavor. If you want to make roasted almond butter, the roasting process is simple: To roast the almonds, spread them in a thin layer on a baking sheet at 300°F for about 20 minutes. Stir a couple of times to assure even roasting. Other liquids may be added such as lemon juice, oils or butters to enhance the flavor of the butter
RECIPE: Almond Butter 1 cup almonds ¼ teaspoon sea salt 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Combine the almonds and salt in a food processor (a blender would work) and process until the nuts are finely ground. Add the oil and continue processing until the almond butter reaches your desired degree of smoothness, adding more oil if necessary. For chunky butter, stir in ¼ cup chopped almonds. Tightly cover and store in the refrigerator.
Variations: Substitute cashews, hazelnut, or macadamia nuts for the almonds. Get creative and make your own signature nut butter.
If you do not want to make your own almond butter, you should be able to find it in the healthy food section at grocery stores. Some’ of the more popular almond butters are Artisana, Trader Joe’s (raw and roasted, very affordable), and Living Tree.