1 cup raw almonds (not roasted)
5 1/2 cups filtered water — 2 cups for soaking the nuts, 3 1/2 cups for blending
3 to 4 pitted dates OR 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional, to taste)
3 pieces vanilla bean, thinly sliced crosswise OR 1 tablespoon vanilla extract OR 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (optional, if you’d like vanilla-flavored milk)
3. Blend on high speed for about 3 minutes.
Stop after three minutes, scrape down the sides of the blender and add up to 2 more cups of filtered water. Less water = thicker, more intensely flavored milk.
Now’s also the time to check if you’ve got the right level of sweetness (and add more if you like). Once you’re happy, blend again for another minute.
6. After about 20 minutes, squeeze the almonds to extract every last drop of milk.
For this step, the pulp should still be moist, but have no milk dripping through the strainer. Draw up the edges of the cheesecloth and carefully twist them together at the top. Squeeze the pulp gently to extract the milk, being careful not to let the pulp itself squeeze out.
Tip: You can keep the almond pulp and sneak it into oatmeal, smoothies, and baked goods for some added nutty goodness.