It’s not that I don’t like almond milk, but when everyone started going crazy for it, seeing it as the new health drink, all I really saw was another processed food. I’m not a fan of all the thickeners and fillers in the ingredient lists on most labels. That’s not to say, I haven’t found a few varieties I enjoy, it just never became a wonder drink for me.
It took a while for me to realize that I could make my own. And not only almond milk, but milk from just about any nut out there. Still, even with that knowledge, I’ve failed to give it a try, despite my DIY attitude in the kitchen.
Recently, it seemed I was coming across more and more creative ways to make it. So when I stumbled on a nut milk bag at the supermarket, I grabbed it and headed straight to the bulk bins for some hazelnuts. It was time to end my nut milk deprivation and start making it at home.
First, hazelnuts make amazing milk. It’s so rich and creamy. Second, making the milk takes far fewer nuts and is much, much easier than I was expecting.
Of course, there is so much creative liberty when you make it at home so I take the opportunity to spice mine up. This version is infused with cinnamon and cardamom.
Just a few notes. I’ve read that you can soak hazelnuts for as little as 1 hour to make milk, but I wanted the whole spices to flavor the soaking water so I let them rest for about 2 1/2 hours. I’m sure if they went longer, the cinnamon and cardamom would be even stronger. I also recommend a nut milk bag. I got mine for about $3, a minor investment. Cheesecloth might work, but I haven’t used it yet.
I most often drink nut milk unsweetened, but I have no doubts that a little honey or maple syrup stirred into a glass of this hazelnut milk would be delicious.
Cinnamon Cardamom Hazelnut Milk
Makes: About 3 1/2 cups
1 cup hazelnuts
4 cups water
5 whole cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
Pinch of sea salt
Place the hazelnuts in a large jar or bowl with a lid. Pour in the water. Add the cardamom and cinnamon sticks. Cover and let sit for about 2 1/2 hours. Stir it or give it a shake a few times if you are around and think about it.
Remove the whole spices and discard. Pour the nuts and soaking water into a large blender. (Mine holds 9 cups. If you have a smaller blender, work in batches.) Add the salt. Start with a large pinch. You can always add a little more after you make the milk, if you like it saltier.
Puree on low for 30 seconds and then turn it to high for 15 seconds. The nuts should be finely chopped in a creamy liquid.
Pour the ground hazelnuts and liquid to one large bowl. Set another large bowl next to this bowl. Place your nut milk bag in the empty bowl. Working over the empty bowl, use a ladle to transfer the liquid and nuts to the nut milk bag. You will need to work in batches, about 1/3 of the nut liquid at a time. Squeeze the contents of the nut milk bag firmly to extract all the liquid you that can. Continue to add the nuts and liquid to the nut milk bag and repeat the process until you have extracted all the milk.
Save the hazelnut meal to use in oatmeal, baking, or to sprinkle on salads. I store mine in the fridge for up to a few days.
Transfer the milk to a pitcher or jar. Chill before serving. Store in the refrigerator. I usually use mine up within 4 days.
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