Homemade Almond Paste

DSC_0010

I didn’t bake with almond paste until a few years ago, and now I can’t stop. Rich introduced me to marzipan (which is almond paste’s sweeter cousin) when we were dating, and I can’t say I was a fan. I’m not sure when that all changed – probably with my first taste of an almond-filled croissant from the French bakery in our neighborhood. Let me say, it is dangerous to have that bakery so close. Good thing their pastries are so expensive!

I used to buy almond paste in the grocery store when it was on sale. When it was fresh it was fine, though not that flavorful. But when it had been on the shelf for a bit, it was hard and tasted even less like almonds. I wished I could find a fresher source, but I never thought to make my own, until I read a few discussions in the home baking forum that King Arthur Flour hosts. It sounded so easy to make – and it is.

Almond paste goes together in no time, and makes the softest, most delicious almondy goodness that you could ever imagine. Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but it is really good.

The basic (and only) ingredients are almonds, sugar, egg whites and almond extract. I use blanched whole almonds. They make a pretty white almond paste, and I can easily pick them up at a global foods market that is fairly close to home. I have searched online and there are companies that sell almond paste made from regular almonds that still have their skins. I need to try it and see how it works. It will be darker, of course. I’m not sure how much the almonds skins would add to the flavor. I do make almond shortbread cookies with natural almonds and they are fabulous, if that is any indication. I’ll make some with natural almonds soon and let you know how it works.

If you have a food processor or blender you can whip up the almond paste in less than five minutes. I usually make about a pound at a time, but you can certainly double the recipe if you have a big enough food processor. Mine has an 11-cup capacity and it might just handle a double recipe. Most recipes call for 7-8 ounces of almond paste. I divide my batch into two halves and store it in the freezer. It takes only minutes to thaw into luscious, soft, fragrant almond paste – ready to use instead of butter and cinnamon sugar in your favorite cinnamon rolls, to layer in brownies or to mix up in a batch of blueberry almond muffins.

Do you like almond paste? Have you ever baked with it? Or are you an almond newbie?

Download or print the recipe here.

Almond Paste
From The Cook’s Life
Makes about 1 pound

Don’t use artificial almond extract. If you can’t find pure almond extract, just leave it out.

1½ cups whole blanched almonds
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 egg white
½ teaspoon pure almond extract, optional

Pulse the almonds and the sugar in a large food processor until the almonds are finely ground. This should only take 1-2 minutes. Make sure the nuts are finely ground, though don’t grind them into almond butter.

DSC_0002

Add the egg white and the almond extract and process again until the almond paste forms large clumps.

DSC_0007

Empty the food processor onto a plate or the counter and use your hands to press the clumps together into a ball or disk. I like to divide the paste in half, into 8-ounce portions, since most recipes call for that amount.

You can use the almond paste immediately, or store it in the fridge or freezer. I like to wrap each portion in plastic wrap and then slip it into a zip lock bag before freezing. Give the paste a few minutes on the counter to thaw before using, or a few hours in the fridge, if you plan ahead. The paste will keep in the freezer for 4-6 months and in the fridge for a few weeks.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Homemade Almond Paste

  1. We also add a little lemon zest to our almond paste. It will keep over a year in the freezer and a few months in the fridge.I use the almonds with skin on. It makes the paste a little darker, but that does not bother me.Those are cheaper than the blanched ones. I made a fun bread. Rolled out the bread dough till about a 12 x18 rectangle. Rolled out the paste a little smaller(between 2 sheets of parchment paper. sticky sticky) and sprinkled my good Dutch chocolate hail on top.Started at long side to roll to the middle, Started to roll other long side to meet 1st one in the middle.Pushed the whole thing together and plopped it in a 9×5 pan.with the seam side down. I have pictures on KAF personal page. I think I will make one today. LOL.

    • Ria,
      Yum, yum, yum! Was it a sweet bread dough? I have one in mind that I also use for cinnamon rolls. Ooh, I might have to make one too! 🙂

      Thanks for the tip on storage and using regular almonds. I think you were one of the participants in the conversations that inspired me to make my own almond paste. I know you have made your share of it! Does the paste taste any different when made with regular almonds vs. blanched? Now I think I’m making a batch of paste with skin-on almonds and then making your bread! I don’t have chocolate hail, but can I shave chocolate to get the same effect? Couldn’t be bad…

      • I used regular bread dough. With the paste and choc. hail it was sweet enough for us. I would think that shaving off the chocolate would give the same effect.Maybe just give it a few more chops with a knife if your shavings are big.
        I don’t think I have ever used blanched almonds.When we first started to make our own almond paste we read a blog from some guy who said the paste should be in the fridge for about 3 months before using. To develop the full almond paste flavor. But I just use it when the mood strikes and then take a new batch out of the freezer.

        • Thanks for the further info on the natural almonds. My next batch will be made from them instead of blanched.

          I couldn’t remember who had talked about aging the almond paste. It was you! I have never done it. Do you think it makes a difference?

          I am so excited to try your almond chocolate bread. But we need to eat up our goodies, including the ones taking up freezer space, first! On to the list it goes!

  2. Funny, I just today saw that same recipe posted on KAF’s Community page and it caught my eye as well. I was planning on making it soon, but now that you mention such wonderful applications for it (almond sweet rolls! blueberry almond muffins!), I think I will whip it up tomorrow. Thanks as always for the inspiration!

    • I haven’t been on KAF in a few days, maybe even weeks (way too busy lately). I didn’t realize there was a recipe there. I don’t know where I first got my recipe…

      I love almond sweet rolls. And did you see Ria’s chocolate almond bread in the above comments?! Yum! What are you going to make with yours first? 🙂

      • My apologies – it’s surely my (increasingly) foggy mind at work, once again. I saw the mention of KAF in your post and I immediately made the connection (even though you didn’t) because I had just seen that recipe at Bakers’ Circle today. Yes, there is indeed a recipe posted though on the Community Recipes page. I don’t know how recent it was as I was just scrolling through.

        • No apologies necessary! I thought it was funny that I posted when others were talking about it, without knowing! :)I have been having trouble with my KAF log-in and the site is giving me troubles periodically since their new updates.

  3. Sarah,
    I’ve never tried doing anything with almond paste, mainly because every delicate marzipan treat I’ve had over in Europe has tasted icky to me. Plain almonds I love, but marzipan is not for me. If this isn’t all marzipan-y, I’m up for it.
    Thanks!

    • Kirsten,
      I’m not a big fan of marzipan. I don’t know for a fact, but I think marzipan baked goods have a liqueur or flavoring added sometimes that I really don’t like. That could be total baloney too. 🙂

      Almond paste tastes like strong, sweet almonds. And the texture is fabulous in baked goods – velvety and rich, if that makes sense. If you lived closer I would let you taste some of mine!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s