In the beginning of the summer, Trader Joe's was having a supply problem with their almond butter. Fifille & I carried on like this was the end of days. Raw + crunchy almond butter from Trader Joe's was a staple in our diets & then ... nothing. It was a little sad.
Almond butter with no sugar in it, to say nothing of crunchy, is hard enough to find, but then mostly when it is found, it costs $11 or $14 for a jar & I just can't. Trader Joe's sells a 1-lb jar for $5.99. But then they did not have it. Not with any regularity or feeling.
One day, I came across a Trader Joe's employee who seemed knowledgeable and not too-too busy, so I asked her. This was when I found out they were having trouble at their supplier level. She also told me it would be a month, at least, before they had it back on the shelves. What? Terrible! I told the lady I would take advantage of this -- turn it into an opportunity, if you will, to see if I could make our own. I have a Vitamix now, so it should be a snap.
I came home & searched on Google. You guys, I had the power all along, like Dorothy. All anyone needs is a food processor! This lady's instructions are good, but she doesn't tell you what will happen. I want all you beauties to know, so you don't get angry with me, halfway through a batch of almond (or any nut/seed, we've done them all now) butter -- I am going to break my food processor, dang her!
There are distinct stages of almond-butter processing (these are not industry terms, I don't think):
Meal -- this is when your nuts turn into a meal, obvsly.
Broken -- this is when the meal starts to turn a little oily
Pasty -- this is where it starts to stick together a little, and you think that any moment, it will open up to turn into a bona fide nut butter, but it does not. First, it has to go through the alarming, lengthy, ball-of-dough phase.
This part is the worst, the part that would make you bail out of the project before you break your costly small appliance. By the way, my equipment is an 11-quart KitchenAid, but it is one of the old machines made on the Robot Coupe assembly line. I say that to say that you should refer to your manual and see how long you can run the machine continuously before your motor burns out. I read that I can run mine for 4 or 6 minutes or something. Hey, the other thing, timingwise, is that a roasted nut/seed goes a lot faster than a raw one. It takes more than 20 minutes to butter up a pound of raw almonds; roasted almonds are done in about 8. Roasted sunflower seeds are the easiest, like making toast, practically.
Anyhow, that ball of dough turns around & around in the bowl for a long time, like the tigers who turned into butter. It is really hard to believe you will ever make it to the end. Then, after an interminable 10 or 15 minutes, you do!
The hard part is scraping it all out of the bowl & into a jar, but that is Fille's job. À bientôt, j'espère.