the best non-dairy creamer ever ::::
I have an ulterior motive here. This really isn’t about my profound, yet delayed, discovery of cashew cream. It’s more about very delayed thinking about dairy replacements.
When I was 17, I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance. I started skipping breakfast, since my typical cereal-milk routine was out. Lactose free milk was not my favorite with its sweeter taste (I’ve never been into sweets for breakfast, even in cereal). I spent the next few years in college skipping breakfast altogether. Why bother, I thought, when I have 8AM class? Or the cafeteria eggs are less than desirable? Using a a non-dairy milk, like American processed soy, never occurred to me at first, and when it did, it sounded just plain gross.
Obviously, some emotional and gustatory maturing occurred since then (over 20 years!), my current kitchen accommodating more than just cow’s milk. Had I tried fresh soy milk like the stuff I made here and here, I might have been more interested in soy alternatives sooner. I’ve met patients with allergies to various foods. I have had friends discover they have celiac disease. There are friends who have made life changes from eating hamburgers three times a week to once a month, or none at all.
And so enter the nut cream. It sounds weird. It’s a little gross, maybe for some. But it works. The reason cashew cream makes such a great dairy replacement is the fat content, better than soy milk, in fact. It’s also great sweetened with a little sugar and spice. When strained, the leftover mash is destined for smoothies without questions. I also have used it as a cream substitute in savory vegetable soups, the nuttiness giving a new flavor profile to some old favorites. Need some ideas? My recipe for vegan pumpkin soup, coming up on the next post!
- 1 pound whole, raw cashews (454 g or about 3½ cups)
- Put cashews into bowl and cover with cold water. Place into refrigerator overnight (or at least 6 hours).
- Drain water from cashews and rinse.
- In small batches, blend cashews mixed with some new water to thin. Blend in blender or food processor until very smooth. I don't have a fancy blender or VitaMix so I strained my mixture over a fine sieve to have a smoother cream (although it was still somewhat thick because I didn't use cheesecloth). Keep the non-strained mash and use for smoothies.
- Makes about 6¼ cups of cream. Lasts about 5 days in the fridge.