Lower Cal DIY Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter + “Why Almond Butter?”

You may have noticed in my WIAW posts, that I have almond butter literally every single day. I buy the Whole Foods 365 organic creamy brand, because it is salt free and sugar free. And delicious. Annnnd…..Good for you!

Almonds have a variety of health benefits, including being linked to lowering cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease, protect against diabetes, and contain only “healthy fats.” The way fats can be healthy is if they are monosaturated, which is exactly the kind of fats almonds possess. This kind of fat is actually proven to stave off weight gain, not promote it.

Now, I would never eat peanut butter with this much abandon. Why? A lot of reasons. First, it’s hard to find peanut butter in a jar that isn’t full of sugar or salt, or both. Gross. Second, peanuts are highly susceptible to mold, so if they aren’t organic, it’s not the safest food choice. Third, a serving of PB is higher in fat and calories than a serving of AB.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti peanut butter—-peanut butter is one of my favorite flavors for desserts! But that’s the key: it’s something to be used on occasion in treats, not something for daily consumption. (For me. This may not be the case for you. You may down PB like it’s going out of style, and be fit and healthy and mold-free. If that’s the case, cool peanuts beans!).

Unfortunately, AB does have two bad things going for it. Number one,  it’s pricey. And two, even healthy fats, in large quantities, are not awesome. And when you eat as much as the stuff as I do, those two things can be kind of an issue.

So I decided to ameliorate these bummers by making my own almond butter. Cheaper. Done. Lower fat/lower cal? Trickier. But I remembered that Angela had posted a light version of almond butter, and used that for inspiration. I altered the recipe in a few ways:  Instead of using  pre-made AB, I made my own by blending raw almonds in a food processor for over 5 minutes until the almonds became a thick paste. I then added 3/4 c almond milk and about a 1/2 tsp of maple extract, rather than using maple syrup. So it’s even lower cal than the Oh She Glows version. And I probably tripled the amount of cinnamon. Man do I love cinnamon….

Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter

1 c raw almonds*

3/4 c vanilla almond milk (unsweetened)

1/2 t maple extract

cinnamon (a lot)

Put your almonds in a food processor and blend for a long time. First the nuts will turn into a flour/powder form, but they’ll eventually start to get paste-like. Scrape down the sides as necessary. When sufficiently pastey, add your cinnamon, milk and extract. Blend until all mixed. Pour into a mason jar and refrigerate.

The possibilities for this are endless. Switch up the extracts, add in coconut, swap ginger for cinnamon. Mix it up, go nuts almonds! And possibilities for serving ideas are endless too. Drizzle it on fruit. Plop it on your steel cut oats. Smear it on your fave healthy bread. Make it a party dip and serve with graham crackers. Pour it over a sweet potato. So versatile!

almond butter dollop on overnight oats

*One more thing to note. You can roast the almonds before making the AB if you desire. However, any raw foodie will tell you that, in terms of nutrition, raw nuts are superior to roasted. There is fairly strong evidence that reveals how heating nuts (and any food) can deplete nutritional value, and, in the case of some nuts, actually increase fat. So, it’s your call, but I think the raw version is terrific!

(I’m submitting this recipe to Wellness Weekend and Healthy Vegan Friday!)

What’s your favorite nut butter? Have you ever made DIY nut butters?

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22 thoughts on “Lower Cal DIY Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter + “Why Almond Butter?”

  1. dboothsummers says:

    I’ve been eating organic Sunbutter on this whole30 plan (whole9life.com). Almond butter is approved too. THere’s a hierarchy of nuts, apparently, and peanut butter is off limits because a peanut is actually a legume. Macadamia and hazelnuts are at the top. Now if only I could make my own nutella… onlyI can’t have added sugar in any form, either. Nothing fake, nothing real, only the stuff that’s already in food… and sweet stuff in general (like fruit and starchy veg like sweet potatoes) is moderation only…

    • raechel says:

      Yeah I first became an almond butter convert because of the Clean program I did. How are you liking whole30? I’m actually surprised macadamia and hazelnuts are at the top…I’ve heard conflicting things about those. Also, are you allowed to use stevia? I bet you could grind up some hazelnuts with stevia for a nutella-like treat. I would love to learn more about your program…Are you feeling great?

      • dboothsummers says:

        i am not a fan of eating so much meat. i was in no way vegan or vegetarian but wasn’t a huge fan of consuming large amounts of meat. no stevia. no maple sugar, etc.

        honestly, a lot of this is junk science to me. i am just confused about which way to go! i know it’s not to a fast food joint, but slow carb/low carb/paleo/low fat…. i just don’t know!

      • raechel says:

        I know. So much conflicting info. And I don’t claim to have the hard science on what is technically “healthiest.” I do know that I don’t think veganism is the most effective route for those interested in both health and looking super lean/toned/fit. I know it’s possible (see: vegan bodybuilders), but it’s a lot harder. I don’t think meat is necessary for health though. I think folks that are vegan + eggs, and MAYBE some lean fish are probably doing “best.” But I’m not going to abandon my political and ethical commitments to veganism for that. I also think that, from experience, cutting out gluten is in no way a bad thing. The anti-grain phenomenon, however, confuses me. I don’t eat a ton of grains, but I think oats, brown rice, and quinoa are super good for you! (Especially quinoa if you’re veg). Anyway, that’s a lot of incoherent rambling, but ultimately, we have to do what works for us as individuals. Cleanses are AWESOME for cutting addictions (I still like sweet things, but feel TERRIBLE if I have regular refined sugar, so stick to stevia, agave (very moderate amounts), and dates), but as much as I loved my CLEAN program, I just want to be able to live life and eat what makes me feel good, and, yes, what makes me look ways that I’d like to look, and following a strict CLEAN ™ diet (no tomatoes? no sweet potatoes? no bananas?!??!?!?!) doesn’t necessarily offer that. Blah. So many thoughts. In solidarity on the diet/lifestyle struggle….

  2. aratota says:

    I love this post! I was LITERALLY chowing a PB & J sandwich while I read this and was like uhhhhh “eating peanut butter like it’s going out of style”? Yup. Guilty. But only the organic, sugar/salt free variety! Haha. Had NO IDEA about raw nuts vs. roasted…I feel so enlightened!

  3. Jessica @ Chockohlawtay says:

    Hey Raechel! I basically just went through your entire blog and absolutely love it :) This sounds like such a good nut butter, I love the maple extract rather than maple syrup since I’m trying to cut down on my sugar intake. I muuussst make this!

    • raechel says:

      Thank you so much, Jessica! I notice that you use extracts a lot too (I’ve yet to find butter extract, but that sounds so amazing!). It’s such a nice way to add flavor with less sugar! : )

      Yay for new blog friendsies. ; )

  4. playinginharmony says:

    I didn’t read every comment, so not sure it this was stated, but I wanted to add my key reason for not eating PB. The mold that grows on peanuts contains a toxin called “aflatoxin,” which is highly carcinogenic. You can use Wild Amazonian Peanut Butter, as these nuts are the only one that do not contain the toxin. You can buy it online on several of the popular raw food sites. Also, if you’re looking for an inexpensive almond butter try Trader Joe’s. I get it for about $4 a jar, which I believe is about 16 oz. But for sure don’t overeat on any nut butter! Nuts are heavy, dry, acidic, and therefor, obstructive at a cellular level. An occasional treat, friends, not a main course! Also, be sure not to miscombine, nuts only digest well with bananas and veggies!

    • raechel @the rebel grrl kitchen says:

      Hi! Thank you for this comment! I was kind of an almond butter adict until I started a no-nut cleanse, which I’m on now. It’s good to know I can live without it. : ) But when I *do* want a treat, I’m curious where you read that nuts combine well with bananas? That’s my favorite way to have them, but I thought it was a big no-no!?

  5. FoodFeud says:

    Love the idea of adding almond milk to the nut butter!! I ought to make my own more often, as it is pretty expensive, unless I can make it to Trader Joe’s. I almost never eat peanut butter anymore, but I was at my folks’ the other day and it’s all they had and I was just so uncomfortable with eating that hydrogenated oils and sugars and salt…but I did anyway, cuz I was hungry :(

  6. Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says:

    I have been meaning to make this lightened up almond butter for ages – thanks for the reminder :) I do love almond butter but go through stages a little bit, perhaps because I eat a lot and then need a break (moderation would be helpful!). Mind you, my breaks usually see me go to peanut butter (the 100% nut kind) or tahini, so it’s kind of just a rotating preference across those 3.

  7. candyroots says:

    This is an awesome idea! So excited to try it out… :D I was just wondering how long it would keep for in the fridge? I make my own nut butters, but this is genius – also do you soak your almonds first? thanks!

    • raechel @the rebel grrrl kitchen says:

      Truthfully, this recipe lasted me just under a week, so I’m not sure if it would be good much longer than that!

      I didn’t soak these almonds, but I think soaking is always the best option in terms of the bodies ability to digest the nuts….You may want to use less almond milk, because the soaking will probably provide more liquid. I’d love to know how it turns out for you!

  8. Courtney says:

    I love your blog–I am exploring all of your old posts! This recipe looks great. But I think you may be mistaken…peanut butter is actually lower in calories and fat than almond butter, not the other way around. Still love them both, though!

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