Almond Rice Horchata
1 c white rice
1 c blanched almonds
freshly grated zest from 1 lime
*1 cinnamon stick OR 1 Tbsp cinnamon bark OR 1 tsp finely ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
6 Tbsp (or sweeten to your preference) light honey, agave syrup or your sweetener of choice
1 Tbsp fine vanilla extract
Rinse rice. Put rice, almonds, lime zest, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and cover with 2 c boiling water. Allow to sit for at least 2 hours. If using a cinnamon stick or bark, remove them first, then blend ingredients till smooth. Put this mixture in the fridge over night. The next day, blend with another 2 c water on high for at least a minute. Add sweetener and vanilla and blend some more. Blend with 2 more cups of water. Strain over several pieces of cheescloth to remove the solids. **I don't strain my horchata, as I don't mind a bit of grittiness, and the solids settle to the bottom of the pitcher - before serving I stir the top half of the horchata in the pitcher with a spoon, not mixing the bottom of the pitcher so that the heavier particles stay at the bottom - and stir the total contents of the pitcher every night. Keep covered in a pitcher in the fridge for up to a week.
For a rich drink, enjoy as is over ice.
For a lighter drink, mix with water.
For "chocolate milk", mix in about a teaspoon of cocoa per serving.
Also great on ice with a shot of fine rum.
Makes an excellent dairy-free coffee creamer/sweetener.
*The cinnamon stick or bark will lend a more subtle cinnamon flavour than ground cinnamon. The Mexican ground cinnamon I use isn't as pungent as the cinnamon I had back in Canada, so if using a very aromatic ground cinnamon, you may want to start with 1/2 tsp, then add more if you want a more pronounced flavour.
**When there's only the thick dense starch left at the bottom of the pitcher, I re-use it to make more horchata by re-blending it with another 2-4 cups of water, more sweetener, vanilla, and cinnamon. I also use the bottom starch to make pudding by adding more water and cooking till it thickens. I would also like to try using the solids for baking, and to make almond pancakes or crepes...