Thursday, October 10, 2019

How To Make The Best Chocolate Almond Milk (Recipe)

How can I claim to have the recipe for the best chocolate almond milk when there are so many homemade almond milk recipes out there? Essentially this is the recipe that works for me. It results in creamy, smooth almond milk with a nice chocolatey richness. But this simple recipe can be easily modified - it will give you a good starting point to determine the best chocolate almond milk variation for you.

You might like your almond milk a little sweeter or with more vanilla (or with no vanilla), for example. The good news is, making your own almond milk at home is easy to do, so you can feel free to experiment regularly. Just buy almonds in bulk and on sale so you have a big batch ready to go. And, homemade almond milk is fresh, nourishing and delicious - you'll want to have some on-hand always to pair with warm cookies.

Ingredients you'll need to make chocolate almond milk:

  • raw, whole natural almonds (shelled obvs)
  • water (filtered is preferable)
  • cocoa or cacao powder
  • maple syrup
  • vanilla (optional)
  • salt (optional)
One of the benefits of making your own almond milk is that you control the ingredients, so there are no questionable or unhealthy additives. As you can see from the ingredients list, this chocolate almond milk is made with all-natural ingredients and is sweetened gently with maple syrup rather than refined white sugar. There are no preservatives. Just be sure to store your almond milk in the refrigerator and consume within 3 to 5 days. (It will separate in the fridge. Store it in a bottle with a lid so you can easily shake it up before pouring.)

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How to make the best chocolate almond milk at home:

To make chocolate almond milk at home, in addition to the ingredients mentioned above, you'll need a good blender and a nut milk bag bag. Check out the blender that I use in this post.

To begin, put a cup of almonds to soak in a bowl of cool water overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the soaked almonds. Add the almonds to the high-speed blender with all of the other ingredients. Blend for a minute or two, until smooth. 

Place a nut milk bag over a large bowl and pour the almond mixture through the nut milk bag. Squeeze and twist the nut milk bag until as much liquid as possible is extracted from the almonds. Reserve almond pulp for other recipes if desired. (Pop it into a container in the freezer.)

Transfer chocolate almond milk to a bottle or jar and refrigerate. Shake or stir before drinking. I highly recommend cleaning your nut milk bag right away so that it stays fresh and clean for the next time you use it.

Almond nutrition:

So long as you aren't allergic to them, almonds offer a great source of nutrition. Almonds are the edible (once you shell them) seed of the almond tree, so not technically a nut. Munching on a handful of almonds gives you a good deal of protein and fibre, plus Vitamin E, manganese and magnesium. One ounce of almonds contains just over 160 calories and 14 grams of fat. Almonds also offer nutrition in the form of antioxidants, most found in the darker skin.

Is almond milk healthy?

Almond nutrition facts aside, clearly almond milk does not retain all of the benefits of whole almonds. But is it healthy? Almond milk is mainly made up of water and the "juices" extracted from the blended almonds. Because the almond pulp is left behind, almond milk doesn't offer the amount of fibre and protein that almonds themselves do.

On the plus side, in comparison to some other non dairy milks, almond milk has a light, pleasant flavour that makes it ideal for using on cereal or in smoothies. Almond milk is naturally vegan so it's great for plant-based eaters and those who avoid casein or lactose. It's also very low in calories and has no cholesterol. Almond milk beverages, like almonds, offer a good source of vitamin E and also contain riboflavin/vitamin B2.

Commercial almond milk may be fortified with calcium and vitamin D, offering potential additional benefits from those, but it may also contain preservatives and thickeners you might not want. Making your own almond milk also allows you the benefit of choosing how much sweetener to add. In this case, I chose to add a small quantity of natural maple syrup rather than refined white sugar. You could also use dates to sweeten or leave out the sweetener completely for your own homemade unsweetened almond milk to add to recipes or smoothies.

I'm not a dietitian, so don't take my opinion as professional advice, but ultimately I would say that almond milk is a healthy, low-calorie choice if you are in need of a plant-based milk alternative and you plan to get some important nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D, elsewhere in your diet.

How to serve chocolate almond milk 

Of course, creamy fresh chocolate almond milk also makes a nice treat to enjoy with a couple of cookies. The cookies in these photos are the yoga cookies from Chloe's Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way. I also recommend one of my favourite vegan cookies - you can fill them with nutrient-dense goodies - these Oatmeal Everything Cookies.

Questions for you

Have you made almond milk at home? What other types of non dairy milk do you make or buy? What's your favourite way to enjoy almond milk?

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The Best Chocolate Almond Milk Recipe

  by Joann MacDonald
  • 1 cup raw natural almonds (soaked in water overnight)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Drain and rinse the soaked almonds. Add to a high-speed blender with all other ingredients. Blend for a minute or two, until smooth. Strain through a nut milk bag bag over a large bowl. Squeeze and twist the nut milk bag until as much liquid as possible is extracted. Reserve almond pulp for other recipes if desired. Transfer chocolate almond milk to a bottle or jar and refrigerate. Shake or stir before drinking.

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