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Nut milk is trendy and easy to make

By Noelle Carter
Los Angeles Times
FOOD NUT-MILK 7 LA
Anne Cusack - MCT
After making almond milk, you can make vegan almond cookies using the leftover almond meal.

More Information

  • Making nut milk: Step by step
  • Go nuts

    Almond is the most popular nut milk, but why stop there? Try hazelnut or pistachio. Macadamia nuts make an extra smooth and creamy milk, perfect when substituting for cream.

    Flavorings and sweeteners are easy to add. Toss a little vanilla or spice in the blender with the nuts when you’re ready to puree, or sweeten with dates, honey, agave or maple syrup. Skip the sweeteners or flavoring, though, if you’re using the milk in savory recipes.


  • Basic Nut Milk and Cream

    1 pound raw, shelled nuts

    PLACE the nuts in a bowl and cover with 2 inches of water. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to soak at least one night, preferably two.

    DRAIN the nuts and rinse under cold water. Place the nuts in a high-speed blender (this will need to be done in a couple of batches) and add enough water to cover by an inch. Puree until completely smooth.

    FOR MILK, pass the nuts and liquid through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer. Squeeze the bag or work with a spatula to make sure you get as much of the liquid as you can. The final “milk” should have the smooth consistency of whole dairy milk; if desired, add water to thin.

    FOR CREAM, after blending the nuts, pass through a strainer to weed out any coarse bits (eliminating the cheesecloth or use of a nut milk bag will allow more solids to pass through to thicken the cream). The strained liquid should have the consistency of heavy cream.

    COVER and refrigerate up to 5 days. The nut milk or cream will naturally separate; give it a quick stir or shake to reconstitute before using.

    NOTE: Keep the discarded nut meal after straining and add it to oatmeal, yogurt, dips or soups, or dry it to use in tart or pie crusts, cookies or fillings. To dry, spread it on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a 250-degree oven for a few hours, stirring occasionally, until the excess moisture is evaporated.

    PER 1/2 CUP MILK (from almonds): 84 calories, 3g protein, 3g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 7g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 7mg sodium. PER 1/4 CUP CREAM (from almonds): 107 calories, 4g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 9g fat (1g saturated), 0 cholesterol, 1mg sodium.

    YIELD: About 5 cups milk or 6 cups cream.


  • Vegan Almond Sable Cookies With Cacao Nibs

    2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, room temperature

    1/3 cup vegan sugar (see note)

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1/2 teaspoon almond extract

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    2/3 cup almond meal

    1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

    1/2 cup cacao nibs

    PLACE coconut oil, sugar, vanilla, almond extract and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer. Beat until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes.

    STIR in the almond meal and flour by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Use your hands if needed to knead the ingredients, still in the bowl, to form a uniform dough. Stir or knead in the cacao nibs.

    FORM the dough into a log approximately 2 inches in diameter, and roll in a sheet of plastic wrap (the dough will be crumbly, and the plastic wrap will keep each cookie in place as it is sliced). If the dough is too soft to slice, refrigerate to firm it up, 10 to 15 minutes.

    HEAT the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log, still in the plastic wrap to support the dough, crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Remove plastic wrap and space the slices 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Tip: Rotate the log a quarter between slices to keep the round shape of the cookies.

    BAKE the cookies until set and very lightly colored, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through for even baking.

    PLACE the baking sheets on a rack and cool the cookies completely before removing.

    NOTE: Sugar is often processed using animal bone char, which is unacceptable to many vegans. Vegan sugar (animal-free processing) is usually available at health-food markets or online.

    PER COOKIE: 177 calories, 2g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 14g fat (10g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 33mg sodium.

    YIELD: About 18 cookies.



Nuts. And water. That’s really all there is to nut milk.

Maybe you’ve noticed all the dairy-free milk brands vying for attention at your supermarket. Nut milks – and other plant-based milks such as soy, rice and even coconut – are hot right now. Whether you’re lactose intolerant or have “consciously uncoupled” yourself from dairy, plant-based alternatives are a growing market.

But have you bothered to check the back of the box?

In addition to nuts and water, you’ll most likely find a litany of additional ingredients. Some lend flavor and/or sweetness, others fortify the milk with vitamins and minerals. Some, like seaweed-derived carrageenan, are added to thicken and emulsify the milk, while still others work as preservatives to extend shelf life.

It was enough to make me wonder how hard it would be just to make it myself.

Believe it or not, homemade nut milk is incredibly simple: Soak nuts, blend and strain. Voila.

There are plenty of recipes for nut milks on the Internet, but the method is basic: Take raw nuts and immerse them in a bowl of water. Soak the nuts until they’re noticeably plump (kind of like soaking raisins), at least several hours and up to a day or so. Drain the water and give the nuts a good rinse, then place them in a blender with fresh water and blend away to your heart’s content.

When the nuts are pureed, strain the liquid. Because of the fine grit from the nut pulp, the liquid will need to be carefully strained. Several layers of cheesecloth over a mesh strainer work well, as does a tea towel. The best thing I’ve found is a nut milk bag (yes, that’s the name, and it can easily be found on the Internet). Fill the bag with puree and gently squeeze the liquid out; the bag works wonders at removing the grit to give the milk a smooth texture.

After the liquid is strained, adjust the consistency with additional liquid to suit your taste. Most methods call for a ratio of 1 cup of nuts to 3 or 4 cups water. I prefer 1 pound of nuts (a little over 3 cups) to around 6 cups of water for a nut milk similar in consistency to whole dairy milk. To create a thicker “cream,” allow a little of the finer grit in with the milk and reduce the water.

Because homemade nut milk will separate over time, store it in a container with a tight lid so you can give it a good shake before using. The milk will keep, refrigerated, for three to five days.

As for the leftover pulp, save it. You can use it in many things. Flavor the pulp and use it as a spread, add it to a shake or fold it in with pancake batters or dips. Or spread it out and slowly dry it in a low oven to make nut meal.

I recently used some dried-out almond meal in cookies. For a batch of sables, I combined coconut oil, almond meal, sugar, flour and cacao nibs, rolling the crumbly dough into a log. After slicing and baking, I took a bite of a warm cookie. Rich, with a sable’s signature “sandy” texture, one might never guess the cookie was dairy-free. And vegan. Perfect for my health-conscious friends.

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