Experimenting with Almond Milk

I made a fresh batch of homemade almond milk last night, just so this morning I could do some experimenting with it!  Up until this point, I have mainly used almond milk as a base for smoothies (which is excellent), but I’ve been wanting to try baking and cooking with it as well.

2 1/2 cups of almond milk, plus the leftover pulp.
2 1/2 cups of almond milk, plus the leftover pulp.

First, I made my Oatmeal Pancakes recipe using almond milk instead of whole milk.  Result?  I think I prefer the whole milk.  The almond milk version wasn’t as fluffy and spread out more on the griddle, BUT, I feel like the taste was the same and the kids ate them up, just like usual.  So, I think we’ll stick to whole milk in our pancakes for now, however, if you don’t (or can’t) drink cow’s milk, know that this is an option for you!

Not as fluffy as the original version.
Not as fluffy as the original version.

I also made two minor adjustments to the original recipe.  I reduced the amount of maple syrup from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup.  I also reduced the amount of vanilla extract to 1 tsp.  I didn’t notice any difference in taste, so that change will help my supply of each last longer (and save us money)!   I updated the recipe for future reference.

Next, I made oatmeal cooked in almond milk.  Result?  Probably about the same.  I still think I prefer regular milk better, though.  A couple of people mentioned yesterday that they sprinkle raisins in their oatmeal, so I tried it this morning (with maple syrup and cinnamon) and it tasted great!  (I buy organic raisins since grapes are on the dirty dozen list.)  I also eliminated the salt.  However, now that I think about it, that could be one of the reasons my oatmeal tasted a little more bland today.  I might add a dash or two back in next time.

Great combo of maple syrup, cinnamon and raisins!
Great combo of maple syrup, cinnamon and raisins!

Normally after I make almond milk, I use the remaining almond pulp to make my Choco-Coco Almond Bites, but I already have some in the refrigerator right now from the last batch I made, so I needed to find something different to do with the pulp this time.  I read on the blog My Whole Food Life that I could make almond flour with the leftover pulp, so that’s what I did!  I spread the pulp on a baking sheet and baked it for about 1 hour and 10 minutes at 200 degrees until it seemed completely dried out.  Then I put it in my food processor to grind it up a little finer.  I wasn’t able to get it as fine as normal flour consistency, but I’m guessing this will still work.  (I suppose I’ll find out soon enough.)  I’m going to store it in the fridge until I come up with a good use for it, probably in the next day or two.  I never liked to waste food before we eliminated all the processed stuff, but now that our food costs us a little more at the grocery store, I’m definitely not going to be wasting anything!!

Almond 'flour'...waiting to be used!
Almond ‘flour’…waiting to be used!

One of the greatest things about making/cooking/baking most of our food from scratch is that I rarely need to buy anything boxed or prepackaged.  When we first started this transition, I assumed I would be buying ‘natural’ cereals and other boxed snacks….nope!  We’re still eating up some of the leftover snacks I bought for our vacation, but once those are gone I don’t really plan to restock them very often.  Here and there I will, because boxed snacks ARE nice when we travel by car, but for every day, at-home snacks, we’ll stick to fruit, string cheese, and homemade goodies. 🙂

My overall opinion on baking/cooking with almond milk?  I’m not entirely sold on the idea.  I will continue trying it in different recipes here and there because I think almond milk is much better for us than cow’s milk, but for the immediate future, I’ll probably just stick to using it in smoothies.

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