As you can probably tell by now I am an almond paste addict. I love to put it in all sorts of baked goods. The problem is that at $9.00 for 8 ounces and up it can be rather expensive to buy and sometimes it is a bit past its prime as well. But luckily it is so easy to make at home- it just takes a bit of time, some good quality ingredients and a food processor.
I made 2 pounds of it a couple of weeks ago. The cost without my labor was around $5.75 instead of $36.00- not a bad savings and may I say a rather superior product as I know exactly what went into it and just how fresh it is?It will keep for weeks in the fridge or months in the freezer and can be used for marzipan candies and other baked goods during the upcoming holidays.
(to make two pounds total – can be halved)
- 1-1/2 pounds whole natural almonds (about 4 cups) or use ready made almond flour in the same weight
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cups water
- 1/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (cane syrup)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract, depending on your taste
With almond flour so readily available now, you can choose to skip this step and just buy it and proceed with the recipe below. Or, you can make this paste from the generally cheaper whole almonds, it’s your choice.
If using natural whole almonds, place the almonds in a large glass or metal bowl. Cover them with boiling water and let them sit for 2-3 minutes. Drain well and then pinch each almond on the fat end and they should pop right out of their skins. If they are resistant, drain and recover with more boiling water. This should be kind of fun and easy to do.
When you have removed all of the skins, blot the almonds on paper towels and place on to a rimmed baking sheet into a warm but not hot oven. You can preheat to 200F and then turn off the oven while skinning the almonds and it should be about right. Leave them in there while cooking the sugar syrup. They should be warm when you begin to grind them.
Place the sugar, water and golden syrup into a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve the sugar and then cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 235F* which is between a thread and soft ball stage. (Remember to calibrate your thermometer particularly if you live at a high elevation and then use the adjusted temperature. My thermometer boils at 204F so I increase the temperature by eight degrees to 243F. Get it, got it, good? ) Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.
Grind the almonds in your food processor fitted with the metal blade. Do this in batches so that you get finely ground almonds without making almond butter. If the mass starts to clump let it rest for a minute, you don’t want the almonds releasing all of their oils because that will turn them into almond butter and not ground almonds. Pulse them until the texture is fine and smooth- you can add a tiny bit of water if necessary to loosen the grind up a bit -but only a little and only if absolutely necessary. Once the almonds are ground finely, pour the sugar syrup in a slow steady stream while the processor is going. Process until all is uniform.
Place two sheets of plastic wrap flat on to your counter or work surface and remove the paste from the work bowl onto them. Wrap the paste tightly in the wrap and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
The paste may be used in pastries,cookies, cakes, pies or made into marzipan with the addition of confectioner’s sugar, egg whites and vanilla. More on that later…
I put some in these cherry scones…yum…so terrific!
Have a grand day!by