Almond Butter Cups + Cashew Milk Latte / by Chelsea Zwieg

I come to you today with not one, not two, but THREE new recipes. Almond butter cups, cashew milk and a cashew milk latte. All of which have led me to discover that the 'if it's not broken don't fix it' mantra has never been my strong suit. And I'm ok with it. After all, things like milk, lattes and chocolate are perfectly accessible to me, perhaps even more so than the average person since you can find me brandishing my barista skills in a snazzy green apron at 5 am most mornings. And yet something about knowing that I could make it at home is enough to send me down an internet rabbit hole of articles on making nut milk, foaming milk and melting chocolate.

It all began when I read this article about foaming milk in the microwave. And this one about homemade nut milk. Which got me to another article claiming that you could create foamy, latte ready milk in a Vitamix. Naturally, I had to try it all. And lo and behold, it worked! We're not going to talk about the part where my first batch of cashew milk flung itself out of the refrigerator and onto the floor in an attempt to create the largest puddle of milk at the most inconvenient time. That's beside the point. What you do need to know is that cashew milk is creamy, dreamy, nutty heaven. I added a touch of vanilla for sweetness and it was irresistible. Add to that your new trick of foaming milk in the microwave or blender and you have a homemade coffee shop level latte on your hands. 

And what goes better with a latte than chocolate? Absolutely nothing. I have always been a fan of Reese's cups. Even today, they are still the only form in which I will eat peanut butter. Something about the sugar and chocolate makes it all right. But again, why would I settle for the readily available, pre-packaged option when I find out there is a way to make it at home? When I make it at home, I can use almond butter instead of peanut butter, dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate and top it off with a few flakes of sea salt. Yes please. 

So yes, things like lattes and milk and Reese's cups may be doing alright and I will continue to love them forever. But something about getting into the kitchen, changing it all around and experimenting until I get it right is just too much fun to pass up. And that's what I love about cooking. 

Almond Butter Cups

Makes 24 cups

| Ingredients

  • 12 oz dark chocolate (I used these and they worked really well) 
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Sea Salt, for sprinkling

| Instructions

  • Line a mini muffin pan with paper baking cups (I found miniature ones at Target). Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir almond butter and powdered sugar with a fork until combined. Depending on the consistency of your almond butter, you may need more or less powdered sugar. You want it to just reach the point where it can be molded into a ball and retain its shape.
  •  In a medium size bowl, microwave chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until it is melted. 
  • Using a spoon, place a small amount of melted chocolate in the bottom of each cup, just enough to cover the bottom. I found that drizzling in the chocolate and then (lightly) banging the pan on the counter a few times created a perfectly level layer. Freeze 5 minutes, or until firm. 
  • Form almond butter into small balls and place in the center of each cup, on top of the frozen chocolate layer. The balls should be small enough so that they do not touch the sides of the cup. 
  • Spoon remaining melted chocolate into cups, covering and surrounding the almond butter in the center. Give it a few more wacks on the counter to create a perfectly level top. If there is a mound from the almond butter at the top, add more chocolate and level it again. Allow to sit about 5 minutes and then sprinkle with sea salt. Return to freezer until completely set, about 10 minutes.  

Cashew Milk Latte

Makes 1 latte

Note: For those very lucky people who have an espresso machine at home: please invite me over. For those that do not: don't worry! This tastes just as good with a very strong bit of coffee. I use a keurig and used about half the amount that is brewed on the smallest setting. 

| Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashew milk (see below) 
  • 2 oz (about 1/4 cup) espresso or very strong coffee
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup or honey

| Instructions

  • In a high powered blender, blend cashew milk and maple syrup (or the sweetener of your choice) on high speed for 5 minutes, until very foamy. 
  • Pour frothed milk over espresso. Stir and enjoy. 

Cashew Milk

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 4 cups 

| Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 4 cups very hot water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

| Instructions

  • Place nuts in a small bowl. Fill bowl with water so that nuts are covered by 2 inches. Cover with plastic wrap and let nuts soak overnight, at least 12 hours. The longer the nuts soak, the smoother the milk. 
  • Drain nuts and place in blender with 4 cups fresh hot water and salt. Blend on high until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and blend until combined. I like a very light vanilla taste, you can definitely add more or even eliminate it based on your preference. Depending on the power of your blender, you may need to strain the milk to get rid of any remaining solids. Store in the refrigerator.