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Sometimes, a thought pops into my head and I must make it happen immediately. However, if I don’t have the ingredients to make that certain inspired recipe come to life, it puts me in a funk. Naturally, the only solution is to send the husband to the store to find those ingredients for me.
Case in point, cocoa butter. I’ve never purchased cocoa butter, I didn’t even know if I could buy it locally or not or if I had to buy it on Amazon or something. But regardless of what I knew, I sent Rob to Natural Grocers to see if they carried it. Lucky for me, they do! And why did I want cocoa butter so badly? Because I have been a chocolate junkie lately and finding paleo-friendly chocolate is near impossible and I wanted to take a stab at making my own chocolate bars. However, I still haven’t perfected it, though that won’t stop me from trying. Tempering is really the problem, I don’t want a chocolate that melts the second I pick it up, you know.
And while we’re on the topic of chocolate, I feel so fortunate to live near the most adorable little chocolate shop. Nuance Chocolate just opened up here in town a couple days ago so we went last night to check it out. I have been anticipating this opening for no less than 2 months, so it was like Christmas came a couple months early when I finally walked inside.
We ordered 2 Taster Flights, each with 5 different samples to try, a Theo Brew (brewed cocoa beans), and a French-Style Hot Chocolate. Of the 10 different chocolates we tasted, we narrowed it down to just 2 bars to take home. Narrowing it down was hard for me. There were at least 4 that I wanted right that minute, but 2 will have to do for now. The Single-Origin Madagascar bar tasted like raspberries. It was so interesting to see how different all the single-origin chocolates tasted. It never occurred to me that cocoa beans from different regions would have such vastly different flavors. My 2 favorite dark chocolates were Madagascar and Ecuador. The 45% Vanilla Milk Chocolate was some of the best milk chocolate I’ve ever had.
And sort of on the same topic of chocolate, how about we get to today’s recipe. There is cocoa butter in it, so it’s all connected, right? I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for some time, ever since I teased it on Instagram here and here. In my line of work, we have really busy times and some slow times. We’ve been in the busy times lately, and I’ve been trying to spend any free time I have with my family (camping, hiking, just anything that’s not working) which hasn’t left much time for experimenting in the kitchen. With the warm weather changing to cold, I imagine I’ll be indoors more often than not, so hopefully that translates to more fun experiments in the kitchen.
If you’ve never made almond butter before, it can be a finicky beast. Making pure almond butter is one thing, it’s usually fool-proof, but when you start adding things to it, especially sweeteners, weird things can possibly happen. Because the butter gets pretty warm (borderline hot) during the process, when you add the honey or maple syrup it can seize up. You have a couple options here:
- Let the almond butter cool down first before you add anything
- Add the additions and then run through the processor again until it gets smooth
I usually choose the latter because it’s less wait time. But it takes a toll on my food processor, since it’s already been running about 20 minutes.
Now, I don’t want this to scare you off from trying this, because it truly is worth it. I actually refused to give up my precious peanut butter when we went paleo because I couldn’t stand the thought of eating almond butter. Every kind I bought from the store just tasted yuck to me. But when I made it myself, I was shocked at how good it really was. It probably didn’t hurt that I flavored it like white chocolate, though…
When making almond butter, it goes through a series of stages. At first, it turns into almond meal, then a weird grainy paste, then a clumpy paste, and then finally a creamy-liquidy butter. The most important step in making this White Chocolate Almond Butter is to pour it all into an adorable glass jar and NOT eat it all with a spoon when it’s fresh and warm. Your stomach will make you pay and then you won’t have any left to enjoy later. This will be the hardest part of the process, I promise.
Also, make sure you store this out of the reach of children. Trust me.
White Chocolate Almond Butter
- In a small glass prep bowl or ramekin, add a small chunk of cocoa butter. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes until melted (it might not melt completely, but stir it and it will continue to melt completely). Since it's hard to measure cocoa butter unless you have a food scale (which I don't), you may need to add more once it's melted until you get to 2 Tbsp. You may also have a little more than you need. If so, save it for the next time you make this.
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use a small paring knife to scrape out the seeds. Set the seeds aside and discard the bean (or save for another use).
Food Processor Instructions
- Add the almonds to the bowl of a food processor. Turn on and let run. You may need to scrape down the sides occasionally. Add the coconut oil within the first 5 minutes.
- Expect the process to take anywhere from 1-20 minutes. The time it takes to go from whole almonds to smooth butter will vary on your actual food processor. I use a 6-year-old 9-cup Cuisinart so my results are based on that. I average 15 minutes from start to finish.
- Once you've achieved a smooth butter, add in the remaining ingredients (cocoa butter, maple syrup, vanilla bean seeds, and salt). Process just to combine until smooth.
- Serve in an airtight container. If not using within 3 days, store in the refrigerator.
- If your almond butter heated up a lot during the process, you might notice the butter will seize up When you add the maple syrup/honey. If this happens, just let it process a little longer, maybe 5 minutes or so, and add a tiny bit more oil. It will get back to butter consistency.
- Alternately, you can wait until the almond butter cools a bit and then blend in the remaining ingredients.