Cookies and Milk



When Michael was a baby, he had chronic ear infections. By the time he was six months old, he tubes in both ears. It's all a little hazy now, but a pediatrician switch, some intense diet research, and a great many La Leche League meetings later, and by the time I was pregnant with Christian, I wasn't drinking milk at all. And--with the exception for one brief (and very dark) non-homogenized organic milk experiment--I never have since.

But I've missed it. Terribly. I don't miss colicky babies or ear infections or bloating or my own sinus issues. But I miss rich, creamy yumminess, especially in tea or coffee. I think coconut milk tastes like shampoo. Soy is not my friend. And almond milk always tasted {eh} to me. Certainly nothing to look forward to. 

When she shared that she was making yet another batch, I offhandedly asked my friend Katherine why bother making almond milk. I mean, almonds aren't exactly free and it's kind of a mess-potential proposition and almond milk is {eh}. She told me there was no comparison between homemade almond milk and the {eh} in the store. 

She's right. Almond milk made at home is delicious. For the first time in 22 years, I really don't miss milk. At all. Here's how we do it:


  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked in water (I've found Costco has the best prices. If you can find better, please let me know!)
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 3 pitted dates, to sweeten, so use more or less to taste (soften with a soak in water, if necessary)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (If desired. The dates might be sweet enough for your taste.)
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, chopped. OR 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. (Vanilla bean is such an extravagant luxury. It's certainly not for our everyday almond milk, but on occasion, it makes it amazingly wonderful.)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of fine grain salt (Don't skip it. It brings out the other flavors)


 How to do it:

1. Soak almonds overnight covered with water. The first time I made it, I didn't soak at all, but it's really better if you soak them 8 hours or so.

2. Drains the almonds and give them a rinse. Put them in the blender with the dates and the vanilla bean and 4 cups filtered water.

3. Blend on highest speed for a couple minutes. I have a Vitamix and it handles this easily. A less powerful blender might need to rest a bit after blending a minute. If you soak the nuts, I think any blender can do it, but go slowly so you don't burn the motor out.


4. Place cheesecloth or a nut milk bag over a large bowl and slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the cloth or bag. This works better with a wide bowl. Trust me on this one--it's not fun to have it squirt wildly and then spend several minutes scraping almond milk paste from the cracks in the flooring. Go with the wide bowl. The extra dish is much easier to clean than the alternative.The first few times, I used a flour sack cloth (purchased at a local grocery store) instead of cheesecloth. It worked just fine. The nut bag does make things simpler and quite a bit neater. Gently squeeze the bottom of the nut milk bag to release the milk. A milking motion works beautifully and it's kind of fun to actually "milk" an almond. 

5. If you are using vanilla extract and maple syrup, rinse the blender and pour the milk back in. Add the extract, syprup, and salt. If you're not using extract or syrup, I think you can add the salt with everything else and save the step. And...I've added it all at the beginning and all was well.

6. Store in glass containers in the fridge for 3-5 days. I've been making a double batch at a time and it's never lasted more than 36 hours.


What to do with the almond meal left in the nut bag? I'm so glad you asked!


You make

Oatmeal Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies



  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 cups unbleached flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 3/4 cup damp almond meal left over from milk making
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
How to do it:


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. 
  2. In large bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until blended. 
  3. Beat in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. 
  4. Stir in oats, flour, almond meal, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonsful about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies
{{For entirely gluten-free chocolate chip oatmeal almond cookies, make sure your oats are gluten free and substitute the damp almond meal for all the flour. It works just fine! They're a little softer than the flour ones when they come out of the oven, so cool them completely before moving them from the cookies sheets. My tasters made them disappear!}}