Almond milk and hazelnut butter are available in most grocery stores, but making nut milk and butter from walnuts, cashews, pecans or other nuts is very easy to do. Another benefit of homemade nut butter, in particular, is that it won't contain the corn syrup and hydrogenated fat that is part of commercially processed nut butters. Hydrogenated fat keeps the solids and the oil in the product from separating, but it also adds cholesterol to what otherwise is a very healthy protein source.
The primary tool needed for making both nut milk and butter is a powerful food processor or chopping tool, such as the Bullet.
The recipes for walnut milk, butter and the Date-Nut Smoothie come from the California Walnut Board. Like almond milk, walnut milk has a faintly nutty flavor and is light enough to use on cereal or as a substitute for regular milk in drinks.
1 c. walnut halves, rinsed
3 c. water, plus more for soaking the nuts
1 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch kosher salt
Place walnuts in a bowl and fill with enough water to cover nuts by at least 1 inch. Cover and soak at room temperature for at least 1 hour. This will remove some of the tannins, which may add a slightly bitter flavor to the milk.
Drain nuts, rinse thoroughly. Combine walnuts,3 cups water, honey, vanilla ad salt in he carafe of a blender or food processor bowl. Blend on low for 2 minutes or until very smooth.
Serve as is, or filter through cheesecloth for a smoother blend. Milk will last up to 5 days when refrigerated.
2 c. walnuts
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vegetable oil (or as needed)
Optional - to taste
Soak walnuts overnight, drain and discard water. Toast walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for up to 15 minutes. Toast until just browned but not too dark. Allow to cool.
Place toasted nuts into food processor bowl, and process until they become sticky or paste-like. Add salt, and then add oil a teaspoon at a time until the butter binds together. Taste, and add honey and / or cinnamon as needed.
Makes 1 cup.
Follow the above guidelines for any other nut butter, just eliminate the soaking step. Almond butter may require the addition of more vegetable oil for a smooth texture. Stir in additional toasted chopped nuts for a crunchy version.
The Walnut-Date Smoothie is a decadent drink that is also exceptionally healthy. It can either be an on-the-go meal replacement, a post-workout refresher or a substitute for that milkshake you're craving.
1 c. walnut milk
1 c. plain yogurt (regular or Greek)
3/4 c. pitted whole dates, roughly chopped
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
8 ice cubes
Combine everything in the carafe of a blender or food processor except the ice cubes and blend on high until the dates are broken up and smooth, at least 1 minute.
Add ice and blend briefly on high or until ice is just broken up. Pour into chilled glasses and serve immediately. Serves 3.
Greek yogurt creates a thicker texture that resembles a milk shake. Almond milk can be substituted for walnut milk.