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Homemade Hazelnut Milk and Pecan Milk
In our ongoing quest to lose a few pounds and eat more healthy foods, I’ve been trying for months to wean myself off the cream and sweetener I put in my coffee. Yes, I realize I should probably wean myself off of coffee as well, but that’s just not going to happen. One of the options I tried was coconut milk, and while that was decent, it wasn’t anything special. I was hoping for something closer to a coconut latte, but unfortunately all I got was slightly weakened coffee.
I’d thought about almond milk as well, but I’d already spent the money on coconut milk and I didn’t want to buy yet another non-local product. So I pulled out some pecans I bought to snack on (see Keeping it Real for some details of the few extra non-local products we’re buying these days) and thought I’d experiment. How hard could it really be to make my own nut “milk”?
As it turns out, it wasn’t very hard at all. In fact, it was downright easy! Just take 1 cup of your favorite nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds). Soak them in water for 24 hours and drain. Warning: the nuts will swell, so make sure the bowl you’re using is a little bigger than one cup. The water may also turn a little cloudy. Don’t worry, just rinse the nuts well before moving on to the next step.
Once the nuts are sufficiently soaked and drained, put them in a blender with 2 cups of water. Blend thoroughly. You’ll end up with about 3 cups of slightly pulpy liquid. Strain the mixture, but don’t throw away the pulp! You should end up with about 1.5 cups of deliciously nutty liquid. You can add a little sugar or honey to sweeten the “milk”. Store in a mason jar in the fridge for up to a week. The liquid will separate a bit in the fridge, but just shake it before using it. The first batch I made was pecan, and it made absolutely the best coffee I’ve had in months. No cream needed.
You can use the strained pulp in a variety of ways. I’ve heard of people adding it to bread, or you can do what I did and make breakfast bars out of it (see tomorrow’s recipe). If you don’t have a blender, you can even use an immersion blender (that’s what I did the first time). Just don’t try to use your food processor! While technically it’s powerful enough to handle it, unless it’s made for liquids, it’s going to leak.
Notes: After I made the pecan milk, I experimented with almond milk and local hazelnut milk from Holmquist hazelnuts. For $11, you get enough hazelnuts to make about 3 batches of milk. If you want to use organic pecans from the grocery store instead, you’ll get 3 batches of milk for about $5. I found the hazelnut milk to be even better than the pecan milk. Though for variety’s sake, I’ll probably still make pecan milk from time to time. I was a little less pleased with the almond milk. There was nothing wrong with it – it was almondy and milky, but it tasted thinner than the hazelnut and pecan milks.