We just returned from a family trip to the UK, and would you believe one of my favorite bites on our trip was an acai bowl? Maybe because we'd already walked miles upon miles, and it was only noon. Maybe because it was a little warm, and that acai bowl tasted so refreshing. Maybe it was just that everything in the UK felt a little magical.
Whatever the reason, I'm bringing you that bowl today.
These Acai + Almond Butter Bowls are cold and thick with a fresh crunch from grated apple, chewy currants, toasted oats, almonds, and walnuts...all topped with a big dollop of almond butter. It's satisfying for breakfast, a snack, or lunch on-the-run.
Let me set the stage.
In the morning, we toured Royal Albert Hall. Oh, so dreamy. I loved hearing about Queen Victoria's love for Albert. Then, we hopped on the Tube to King's Cross Station. Any Harry Potter fan must see King's Cross Station at least, right? There's a cool little photo opp where you get to pick your house scarf and take a photo.
Jack picked Ravenclaw, and I think he got it right.
Knowing that we had afternoon tea (NOT high tea...there's a difference) booked at Kensington Palace that afternoon, we opted for a light lunch in the station. I grabbed an Acai and Almond Butter Bowl. Y'all. I could not get over how GOOD it was.
How to Make a London Acai + Almond Butter Bowl
First, make a quick granola. I'm very, very picky about granola. Mostly, I find it too heavy and overcooked. This one is simple and perfect. In a hurry? You can use store-bought granola that you love.
Start by toasting almonds, walnuts, and oats in a pan with a bit of brown sugar. You're going to stir this often until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Watch carefully. Once that cools, stir in some currants. You could use raisins or dried cranberries. They're there for the chewiness.
A note about the walnuts: I love these sprouted walnuts from Tenderly Rooted. If you've ever found walnuts to be bitter, try these! They've turned me into a walnut-lover!
Now for the acai part. Psst...I like the acai packets from Trader Joe's. The tricky thing about acai bowls is that you want the fruit puree to be THICK. So, we're only using frozen fruit and a bit of water. Not yogurt, no almond milk, no fresh fruit. Adding those things will make a drinkable smoothie but not a spoonable puree for acai bowls.
I used frozen banana and frozen tart cherries with the acai. You can add raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries in place of the cherries (if you must!).
You'll need a high-powered blender. We've had a Blendtec for years, and we absolutely love it. It's worth every single penny. Once you start blending the fruit, you'll have to start and stop the blender many times to push the fruit down. I like a muddler to help with this, but you can use a spoon. Just be prepared, and don't add a bunch of liquid, or you'll make a smoothie.
As soon as the acai puree is blended, julienne half of a Granny Smith Apple. (Toss this in a bit of lemon juice if you're making for later in the day or the next morning.
Pour half of the cooled granola into two glasses. I like to keep the granola at an angle with a little on the bottom of the glass. You can, of course, do this in a bowl.
Spoon in the acai puree. Top with the thin strips of apple and a spoonful of almond butter. My favorite is Justin's Vanilla Almond Butter.
London Acai + Almond Butter Bowls
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon currants
1 frozen banana, broken into pieces
7 ounces frozen acai puree
1 cup frozen tart cherries (or any other combination of frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or cherries to equal 1 cup)
3 tablespoons water
1/2 Granny Smith apple
1 teaspoon lemon juice, optional
Almond butter (Justin's Vanilla Almond Butter recommended)
In a skillet, toast the oats, almonds, walnuts, brown sugar, and salt over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until the sugar has melted and the oats and nuts are toasted. This mixture can burn quickly, so keep an eye on it. Remove to a piece of parchment paper and let cool.
Once cool, toss in currants. Set aside.
The tricky thing about acai bowls is that you want the fruit puree to be THICK. So, we're only using frozen fruit and a bit of water. Not yogurt, no almond milk, no fresh fruit. Adding those things will make a drinkable smoothie but not a spoonable puree for acai bowls.
In a high-powered blender, whir the banana pieces until somewhat blended. Run the acai packets under water for about 15 seconds. Break into pieces and add to blender along with 2 tablespoons water and 1/2 cup frozen cherries. Blend until smooth, stopping frequently as the blender will stop. You'll need to press the fruit down. A drink muddler is an excellent tool for this. Once smooth, add the remaining 1/2 cup cherries and 1 tablespoon water. Blend until thick and smooth.
Quickly julienne the Granny Smith apple, tossing with a bit of lemon juice if not serving immediately.
Place granola into two glasses or in the bottom of a bowl. Spoon acai puree on top. Add apple strips and a dollop of almond butter to each.
Serve immediately or cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for up to a day.