Since I went back to school to be a holistic nutritionist, I’ve made a lot of changes to my family’s diet. More dark, leafy, greens. Colorful fruits and veggies. High quality protein. Healthy fats. Less processed foods. More meals eaten at home. We feel great, and for the most part, every one is on board. They indulge my whims, try new things and have adopted my new way of eating.
But there are a few things that they are not willing to give up. One of the non-negotiables for them is peanut butter. They really love the peanut butter with lots of sugar and salt. They eat a lot of peanut butter, so this is a big thing. It’s okay once in awhile, but for everyday, I want them to eat a healthier version. Not to mention that I feel better sending them to school with non-peanut options for the kids with allergies.
I tried everything. I tried every brand of natural peanut butter. They knew within one bite that it wasn’t their beloved Jif. They started to give me the side eye every time I put a PB&J in front of them. They knew what was up.
I almost gave up. My friend Brooke wrote a book about almonds (one of my favorite things to eat) and I tried this recipe for Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter. (Cue the singing angels.) One, it was really easy to make. Second, they liked it. They really, really, liked it!
Now, for 100% transparency, they still prefer their old peanut butter on a sandwich. But, I can get them to eat this (and actually enjoy it) almond butter on apple slices. And that my friends, is what I call a victory.
2 cups raw almonds
4 Tablespoons raw honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla powder, 1 vanilla bean, or 2 teaspoons extract
Start with raw almonds. These almonds have not been salted or cooked in any way. I usually buy a big bag every time I go to Trader Joe’s.
Toast the almonds in a dry saute pan over medium heat. It takes about 5 minutes, but you need to babysit or they will burn. Trust me on this one. Let the almonds cool.
Add the almonds to a high powered blender or food processor. If you have a regular blender, use the food processor or you will burn out your motor. Again, trust me. I speak from experience on both fronts.
Add the honey, sea salt, cinnamon, and vanilla powder.
Pulse until the almonds look sandy, about 1 to 2 minutes, scraping as needed.
Then let it run for 10 to 15 minutes. The oils will release and will make a creamy butter. I stop and scrape a few times before I am done.
My favorite way to clean out the blender? Make a smoothie before you rinse the jar. I added banana, almond milk, cocoa powder, and spinach. My kids had it for an after school snack.
Put in an airtight container and keep in the fridge.