amlou

You probably haven’t heard of this one, unless you have spent significant time in the Souss Valley of Morocco. But you should make it anyway.

It’s part specialty confection and part peanut-almonds-walnut butter. It’s one of those things that you can technically buy in stores, but it’s so expensive and time-consuming and special that any self-respecting Soussi makes his own.

It’s also one of those things that is so good it doesn’t need any fancy recipe or presentation: just eat it with fresh bread and your taste buds will thank you. I suppose you could use it in cooking as a peanut sauce, Thai-style, but I haven’t yet been inspired to (maybe someone out there can try it and tell me what happens). It’s just so good.

This recipe is adapted to use only ingredients that you can find in an American supermarket (no argan oil, sadly, but worry not) and as long as you have an oven, a kitchen scale, and a reliable blender, you’re in business. It’s easier than you think!

This recipe is literally (yes literally) one-tenth of a typical Moroccan batch. You can always multiply everything by 10 (though it probably will have to be done in a few stages, depending on the size of your blender or food processor) and give it away as gifts.

gentlemen start your engines

Amlou (Southern Moroccan almond butter)

Yields 1 2/3 cups

Ingredients:

100 grams almonds
100 grams peanuts, shelled
50 grams walnuts, shelled
50 grams sesame seeds
1 T anise seeds
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup sunflower oil
40 grams confectioners sugar

Preparation:

Spread the walnuts and almonds evenly on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes at 325ºF. Place them in a blender or food processor when finished.

Spread the sesame seeds and anise seeds on a baking sheet and toast these at the same temperature for 5 minutes.

Place the sesame seeds, anise seeds, and the remaining ingredients in the blender or processor and blend till smooth. This may take a little while, but keep mixing the ingredients together with a spatula or spoon in between whirls and add conservative amounts of oil if desired.

Store it in the fridge – if it sits for a while, the oil may separate out (like natural peanut butter) – just mix it all up again before serving.

N.B. Unlike American peanut butter, amlou is quite sweet. If it’s tooooo sweet, dial down the sugar and try adding a bit of salt.

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