By: ALEXIS BLANDINE
Almond butter is on the rise of becoming one of the most popular nut butters. It is a perfect alternative for people who can tolerate tree nuts, but may have a peanut allergy. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, almond butter has less saturated fat, more fiber, and more calcium than peanut butter, even though they are all high-fat, protein options that are filled with phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, and Vitamin E.
Almond butter has a rich, nutty texture that has more complexity than your regular peanut butter; it’s the sophisticated older woman sitting at the bar sipping a martini in the world of nut butters, whereas peanut butter is the rowdy girl on spring break dancing on the bars. Okay, it’s not that serious, but you get the point. Almond butter can be swapped in place of peanut butter in just about any recipe, spread on any bread, or dipped with crudité veggies. If, however, you are trying to go tap dancing outside the box, here are a few to try out.
Yield: 20 candies
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 3 min
*peanut and gluten free!
1 (11.5 ounce) bag milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup Barney Butter (almond butter)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
peanut butter cup molds, or mini muffin paper baking cups
1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave (about 2 minutes). Stir; continue to microwave in short-bursts until completely melted and smooth. With a small spoon, scoop chocolate into the bottom of each cup. Refrigerate (if using paper cups place in muffin tin and then refrigerate).
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl- combine almond butter and the powdered sugar with a sturdy spoon. Roll teaspoonfuls of the almond butter mixture into little balls. Flatten the balls and place them on top of the 1st layer of chocolate. Top with more melted chocolate and refrigerate to set.
3. Peel and eat. These may be kept refrigerated or at room temperature.
Almond Butter Granola
Complements of http://www.theiowafarmerswife.com
What you need:
6 cups oats
1 cup honey
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup shaved almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour oats and spices into a bowl and stir. Add honey, olive oil, vanilla and almond butter to a separate bowl. Stir until well blended. Pour honey mixture onto oats and gather with your hands to coat the oats. Spread onto a cookie sheet (you’ll need 2) and bake for 10 minutes. Take out and toss, then return to oven for another 5 minutes (repeat). Add almonds after the 3rd time out of the oven. Place sheets bake in the oven for 5 more minutes. Allow to cool completely. Add raisins and store in an air tight container.
Toasted Sesame Almond Noodles
Serves 6 to 8
Complements of http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/
*This sesame almond sauce is also delish with chicken, beef or seafood sates.
1 pound soba noodles
1/4 cup smooth almond butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds*
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds*
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cucumber, halved, seeded, diced
3 green onions, sliced thin on a diagonal (green and white parts)
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook soba noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree almond butter, garlic, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons almonds, soy sauce, vinegar and red pepper flakes.
3. Place soba noodles in a large mixing bowl and add the sesame almond sauce and cilantro and toss to coat. Add cucumber, cucumber and black pepper and toss to coat. Divide among serving plates and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds and almonds. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*To toast sesame seeds, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until they just turn golden. Do not overcook or they will taste scorched. Toast almonds the same way.
Almond Pear Sandwich
complements of http://www.runnersworld.com/
3 tablespoons almond butter,
1 teaspoon honey,
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 slices of whole-grain bread
4 thin pear slices
2 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
Whisk the first 4 ingredients together, spread onto a slice of bread, top with pear slices, apricots, and goat cheese, then top with second slice of bread.
*For a better sandwich, toast the bread or lightly grill (think Panini) for a few minutes until bread gets crusty.
I am guilty of sticking a spoon in my peanut butter jar from time to time (more often than I’d like to admit), but when it comes to almond butter, I will not discriminate- especially since it has more health benefits than peanut butter in terms of saturated fat, fiber, and calcium. I can almost dupe myself into feeling better for the one or five spoonfuls that somehow escape the jar and land in my mouth. Let me know how ‘nutty’ you get with it. Oh, the cheap thrills I get sometimes…
Sealed with a kiss of Nutella,