Friday, August 19, 2011

First, locate the teats on your cashew...

I've been buying almond, coconut, and/or soy milk instead of milk for quite some time now. Recently I concluded that making nut milk shouldn't be that hard and googled around for guidance. I think I have this process pretty streamlined, have stuff to say, and am ready to document it, so here goes:

Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is flipping delicious and easy to make, so if you want to try making nut milk, I highly recommend starting with cashew. If you have a kick ass blender (vita-mix, blendtec, etc.) you won't even need a nut milk bag/fine mesh to strain it, because you won't need to strain it at all.

  1. Get RAW un-dicked around with cashews. No salt, no whatever else. I buy them in the bulk bin now. You will need about 1 cup of cashews to make 3 cups of cashew milk.
  2. Soak them in plenty of water for a few hours or even overnight. You can soak them in the pitcher of your blender, so you don't dirty another thing in the kitchen. 
  3. Strain and rinse them off.
  4. Add them back to the blender pitcher and add just enough fresh cold water to cover. I use filtered water from my Brita for this.
  5. Blend on your blender's juice setting (my Blendtec starts out slow, then beats the crap out of them for maybe a minute and a half on this setting).
  6. Behold your cashew cream! Depending on what you're up to, you might need to stop here. More on that later.
  7. Add in the rest of the water (up to the 3 cup mark is a good place to start) and put the lid back on securely. I shake the pitcher at this point to basically wash down the sides.
  8. Blend again on the whole juice setting.
  9. Check it out! It looks like milk! 

At this point it tastes very very neutral, so give it a taste and adjust for the consistency you like. If it's too creamy, just add more cold filtered water. I also like to buzz in a pinch of sea salt, a tiny bit of maple syrup, a tiny bit of vanilla extract, and a tiny pinch of cinnamon. If you go overboard on that stuff, it tastes like Horchata, which is damn awesome, as well.

If you find, as I have, that you'll want to make a 3 cup batch of this every week, I recommend soaking a big batch of cashews all at once, then portioning them out into ziploc bags for the freezer. If you don't want to wait 20 minutes while they thaw a little, they can be zapped in the microwave for 30 seconds when you're ready to make milk, so the whole process from using pre-soaked, frozen cashews takes only five minutes.

Other ideas
Double Honey Nut Cheerios 
Flavor your nut milk with honey and a pinch of salt and pour over your Honey Nut Cheerios. OMG Sweet Jesus.
Honey Nut Semi Freddo
Make honey nut semi-freddo by flavoring the cashew cream with plenty of honey and a good pinch of salt and freezing it. It should be too sweet to eat before you freeze it because freezing dulls the sweetness quite a bit. I stirred it once or twice as it was freezing too. This was amazingly good. I think I'm going to try this with hazelnut cream and chocolate next.
Coffee Cream
Coffee cream can be made by adding less water than when making milk, and can, of course be flavored however you like.
Chocolate Cashew Milk
Mix 1 Tbsp. agave nectar with 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder and a pinch of salt until it looks like Hershey's chocolate syrup. Add a little cashew milk to thin and stir until dissolved. Add more cashew milk until it tastes the way you want.
Delicious Cashew Spread
Start with 1 cup of extra thick cashew cream and add 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast, chopped fresh herbs, cracked black pepper, and garlic (or any combination of that stuff- this combo tastes a lot like Boursin cheese). Awesome on crackers, crudite, and baked potatoes.
Creamy coffee!

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