Thursday, March 31, 2011

EPIC FAIL: I cannot make almond butter.

When it comes to making almond butter, or any nut butter, I am an epic failure. I just cannot get it completely, totally right. Mild success, sure. It happened once upon a time. But the resulting concoction wasn't nearly as good as my store-bought favorite, so I wasn't completely satisfied. Tuesday night, I found mild success again.

Sort of.
Let's discuss...

When you make nut butters at home, you inevitably have to break out your food processor. I have a Cuisinart Mini-Prep, shown at right. And can I just say_I love it dearly. However! I've come to realize that it isn't made for making nut butters. Not even small batches. For starters, the bowl is too small. If I put more than a cup of almonds in it, it can't keep up. And when you make nut butters, you have to let the processor process for a good 15 minutes at the very least. This little guy I have, you have to hold the button down to make it process. That's a lot of holding, m'dears. I've got other things to do. But I do love nut butters, so I've been sacrificing my time in the good name of nut butter experimentation. But like I said before, there hasn't been much solid success. Mini-Prep started smoking this time around.

I tried to follow Ashley's Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter recipe. I had some almonds, it sounded good. Why not?! Into the oven the almonds went, out they came and I was ready to fight the battle yet again. So I spooned in one cup of the almonds, started processing and simply just waited. And waited. And waited some more. It was chopping up nice and fine, but it wasn't coming together like a good almond butter should. And the Mini-Prep was getting rather hot to the touch. Ashley suggests adding some oil to bring it together, so I added olive oil. (It was either that or Canola, so I opted for the former of the two. It didn't affect the taste.) It seemed to work, but when I stopped processing, I noticed the smell of overworked electrics. And yeah, just a slight bit of steam (was it smoke?) coming out of the base. Lucky for me, it had come together decently enough. Well, enough to warrant putting it into a little jar for safe keeping. But I still had another cup full of almonds to process. I couldn't let them go to waste. So into Mini-Prep they went.

And this is when things just didn't work out for me. MP had enough, and it was basically refusing to work at a speed that would be efficient enough to continue. And so, I was forced to empty the contents of the bowl into a nice plastic container suitable for storing chopped up almonds of the Roasted Maple Cinnamon variety. I'm glad I saved them. They made for quite the delicious oatmeal topper yesterday morning:

Which, of course, smelled much better than the lingering burnt-out electrics smell. All of Mini-Prep's components are in the dishwasher right now, so I haven't tried it out since overworking it. Perhaps it's dead. I hope not. Lesson learned: Don't make nut butters in the Mini-Prep. It can't handle it. Needless to say, I'm now on the market for a bigger food processor. So if you have one that you're in love with, let me know. But speaking of being in love, I am absolutely head-over-heels for Ashley's recipe. The small batch I did get out of the fiasco made the fiasco itself completely worth it.

But I know for sure it won't last long, hence the need for a bigger food processor. I taste-tested Tuesday night, but got the full effect yesterday at lunch. Onto a piece of toast it went.

And, well. You know what happened next. Let's just say it didn't last long on that little white napkin I so artfully placed beneath it. Sigh...I need a new food processor, pronto! 'Cuz I'm gonna need another batch of this double-pronto!

Question: Have you had any success making nut butters at home? What food processor do you use?


Unknown said...

You need a VitaMix blender. They're really expensive but they do EVERYTHING. You would love mom has one. You can throw in whole carrots, apples, nuts, garlic etc. They make everything from hot soup to juice, ice cream and......NUT BUTTER! These are the blenders you see in starbucks and smoothie places.

Anonymous said...

Putz, I have!! I actually have made Ashley's Maple Almond Butter as well when I went home to my parents' house. They have a big food processor. It turned out, but it took what seemed forever to make the nuts buttery. Also, mine seemed a bit darker than yours and a little bit harder and less creamy than Ashley's. Though, it DID taste delicious and provided me with a special treat back here in the Peace Corps for a couple months! I obviously savored it. :)

TARA said...

@Bethany: I am 100% familiar with the VitaMix. I intend to own one someday. Has your mom made any nut butters in it? @beckarie: She must put a TON of oil in hers...that's the only explanation I can come up with.

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