The current Williams-Sonoma catalog includes a Vitamix almond butter recipe in a beautiful Ascent Series spread. As I read it, I kept finding more and more problems. I believe their recipe works, but it doesn’t follow Vitamix best practices and takes considerably more time than necessary. It looks like Williams-Sonoma used a food processor recipe without fully adapting it for a Vitamix.
Some people run into difficulties with making almond butter, and I thought this could be a good learning opportunity. I previously wrote about how to make Vitamix almond butter, so today’s post will just focus on the downsides of the Williams-Sonoma recipe. Here is a zoom:
If you have a wide Vitamix container like the one in the Williams-Sonoma spread, 3 cups is not enough nuts for easy blending. (You can use 3 cups of almonds in a narrow Vitamix container, but, at this point, the only narrow Vitamix containers that can be used with a tamper are for Legacy models and don’t work with Ascent models.) For the wide Ascent and G-Series containers, you should use 4–5 cups of nuts. Interestingly, in the photo it looks like they have at least 5 cups of nuts in the container.
Warming toasted nuts is not necessary. As the nuts blend in a Vitamix, they naturally heat up from friction, so pre-warming them is a pointless 10-minute step. And transferring directly from the oven to a container can be risky. If the nuts are too hot, they will melt the container. (In most blends the container could never melt because water prevents the blend from going above 212°F. But nuts are dry enough that they can go above ~250°F, where the container starts to melt.)
Next, blending on low speed increases the chance of overheating the motor and makes the process take longer.
Finally, if you blend enough nuts to use the tamper, you don’t need to stop and scrape down the sides, and it will blend in about 1 minute, not 10.