New York City has not been shy about welcoming fall this weekend. The temperature dropped a cool ten degrees, pumpkin-this and pumpkin-that waves at you from every storefront, and footballers have taken over the bar scene- fall is finally here!
Wrapped up in a cozy sweater, with a warm mug of tea, I’m waiting to take my Sunday morning trip to the farmers market to see if my fruit farmers have brought their apples to market yet. While I usually get more excited about other cool-weather produce, such as butternut squash and parnsips, I’m especially eager for this season’s crop of apples so I can eat them with my delicious Chai Spice Almond Butter.
Not having apples certainly hasn’t stopped me from going at it with a spoon, but this creamy, fragrant spread will pair amazingly with a tart or sweet apple, so I’m venturing out later to fulfill this snacktime craving.
It has been a recent point of importance of mine to have a well-stocked spice cabinet, in particular when to comes to more of the baking spices and seasonings. I’m finding so many excuses to use cardamom these days (have you tried a sprinkle in your coffee? HOLY YUM!), and ground ginger is coming in handy for on the fly oatmeals and dinner meals. So, when I came home from the store with a bag of almonds, felt tired of having them plain Jane for snacks, and realized my nut butter stash was running low, I peeked into the spice cabinet and knew exactly the flavor combo I needed to go with for a fall almond butter treat.
Making almond butter at home is a worthy investment of your time and money, and allows you to create whatever style and taste you like! My bag of raw, unsalted almonds, which yielded a little more than 2 cups of nuts, cost $8.00, which in comparison to today’s nut butters running the gamut of $10-$15 felt like a major score. Aside from the cost, all you need is a trusty food processor or Vitamix and a bit of patience before you’re rewarded with creamy goodness.
Chai Spice Almond Butter- Makes 1.5 cups
- 2 hefty cups raw, unsalted almonds
- 2 teaspoons of each- ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon of each- ground clove, ground coriander
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add nuts, in a single layer as much as possible. Roast nuts in the oven for 10-15 minutes, careful to not burn or excessively toast them. The idea of this step is to help the nuts start to release their natural oils so that a creamier butter ensues.
- While nuts are roasting, mix all spices together in a small bowl, then set aside. These measurements yield you ample spice blend to use in this recipe and others, so I suggest finding a small jar to store it in.
- Add cooled nuts to a food processor and process until creamy. Be warned that this process takes time and patience. First, the nuts will be ground into a fine dust. After another few minutes running the food processor, the powder will begin to stick together. At this stage, you may want to scrape down the sides every few minutes to keep everything blending. Continue to blend and a mass of nut “dough” will begin to form- you’re getting closer! The oils are now being fully released after about 10-15 minutes of processesing and with a few more minutes running the motor, the magically, creamy nut butter will soon form.
- As you approach your desired smoothness, add in 1 Tablespoon of the spice blend and process a minute or two more to ensure it’s evenly and fully distributed in the butter. Once complete, store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for however long it lasts you.
*Homemade nut butters that don’t use added oils and sugars will go rancid more quickly at room temperature than commerically bought butters, so best to keep your hard earned almond butter in the fridge.