How to Make Almond Paste – Or Not!

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Almond PasteLast week I posted a recipe using almond paste. One of my regular readers asked me if I had a recipe to make almond paste since it is so expensive. At the time I remembered seeing such recipes so I hopped on the internet and found quite a few.

Most of them featured blanched almonds, powdered sugar and egg whites as the binder.
Armed with a pound of almonds, plenty of powdered sugar and egg whites, off I went.

The first hint of a problem was getting the almonds fine enough. Processor blades dull after a while and I don’t know if they can be sharpened.  I generally just replace mine.  However, since my processor is on it’s last leg, I haven’t and the blade is not as sharp as i would like it.  So I restorted to placing them in a blender with the powdered sugar and it did a great job after a lot of scraping and blending. After the nuts were finely ground, I transferred the mixture to the processor and added the egg white. It balled up into a gorgeous mass and when shaped into a log it looked spectacular.

I went to bed that night happy with my conquest. Almond Paste – DONE!!! When I woke up the next morning I had a nagging feeling of needing to test my perfect product.

The Almond Macaroons were my test. Following my instructions, I added the egg white and instead of the mixture standing up so it could be piped, it oozed. Not a good sign. But I continued on (remember this is a test) and piped them. After a 30 minute wait I baked them where they spread into large, round amaretti like cookies. Not bad, but I was looking for Almond Macaroons.Almond macaroons piped for How to Make Almond PasteBaked almond macaroons for How to Make Almond Paste

Undaunted, I went old school and referred to my professional books. Bo Friberg’s, “The Professional Pastry Chef” had a recipe using a simple syrup as a binder which I much preferred over the egg white.

I also used almond flour instead of grinding the nuts. According to Nuts.com ” Almond flour is a low-carb, gluten-free baking alternative to standard wheat flour. As you might have guessed, this flour is made of almonds (and only almonds), which are first blanched to remove the skin and then ground up to a very fine consistency, similar to that of wheat or cornmeal.”Almond flour for How to Make Almond Paste

After making and cooling the simple syrup, I put the ingredients in the processor and watched happily as the almond paste came together. More firm, I thought. Much more like the real thing. In keeping with my need to test, I made another batch of Almond Macaroons. They held their shape and looked gorgeous on the tray as I waited the 30 minutes before baking them.

When I opened the oven, I was astounded. Although not quite as bad as the first batch, these too, spread out and seemed to melt before setting. These did retain some of their piped shape but, in a couple of words, were really ugly!   I did nothing but take these out of the oven – even though some look like I took bites out of them.  That was later.  However, the good news is they taste fantastic. As good or better than the original recipe made with the purchased almond paste.Second batch of baked almond macaroons for How to Make Almond Paste

This version would be fantastic for marzipan if you were making marzipan since it doesn’t contain egg white. And the cookies would be good in a crumble or crisp. Maybe even in fillings if bolstered by other ingredients. But for baked, stand alone products, not so much.

Finally, I went back to the computer and read about how Solo makes their almond paste. There it was – they cook it. That makes perfect sense as it would dry out the moisture in the paste allowing it to keeps it shape when used in stand-alone products such as cookies.

What I have figured out is there are some things that are better bought, even though expensive.

So here are the recipes and the results. If anyone figures this out and can make my Almond Macaroons with their version, please share with the rest of us. I will happily run it and give you credit.

Almond Paste with Simple Syrup and Almond Flour
1 cup +2 tablespoons almond meal or almond flour (140 grams or 5 ounces)
1 cup +2 tablespoon powdered sugar (140 grams or 5 ounces)
3 tablespoons simple syrup – recipe below
1 tablespoon almond extract

Combine the almond flour and powdered sugar in the processor bowl. Process briefly to mix well.

Combine the simple syrup and almond extract. Stir well. Pour over the dry ingredients in the processor in a circle. Process until it looks like sand. It will not ball up. Almond paste finished in processor for How to Make Almond PasteHowever, it should come together when a small amount is pinched. If it is too dry, add more simple syrup very sparingly, just a bit at a time.

Pour it our onto a work area and push it together. Knead it several times; then shape into a log. It can be used immediately as it is very firm.Almond paste in a roll for How to Make Almond Paste

Use where almond paste is called for.

This can be stored well wrapped at room temperature for a week or so. Store in the refrigerator or freeze for longer storage.

Yield: 300 grams or 10 1/2 ounces

Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/3 cup +1 tablespoon sugar (75 grams or 2 1/2 ounces)

Put the water and cornsyrup in a small saucepan. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.Simple syrup for How to Make Almond Paste

Yield: About 1/2 cup

Almond Paste with Almonds and Egg WhiteIngredients for almond paste1 1/2 cups blanched slivered almonds (170 grams or 6 ounces)
1 1/2 cups unsifted powdered sugar (195 grams or 7 ounces)
1 egg white
1 tablespoon almond extract

Place the almonds and powdered sugar in a blender. Nuts and powdered sugar in blender for How to Make Almond PasteBlend until there are no lumps of nuts when rubbed between your fingers. Scrape down often. I poured my mixture into a bowl several times because it cakes on the bottom. It is important to get this mixture silky smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the egg white and almond extract.Egg white added for How to Make Almond Paste Process until a ball forms.Almond Paste balled up in processor for How to Make Almond Paste

Remove from the processor and place on a piece of plastic film. Shape into a log. Almond paste in a roll for How to Make Almond pasteWrap in the film and refrigerate until firm.Almond paste wrapped in film for How to Make Almond Paste

Use as directed in recipes where almond paste is an ingredient.

Yield: 14 ounces or 400 grams.

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14 thoughts on “How to Make Almond Paste – Or Not!

  1. I Wilkerson

    I have always found marzipan beautiful, but not liking bitter almond flavor (though I like almonds), steered away from it. I am assuming this means it would be possible to make a vanilla marzipan by substituting vanilla extract for the almond extract? My very artistic cousin always did people work for the holidays!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      I love the autocorrect. I finally turned mine off. I don’t mind the spelling being corrected but so often the computer guesses wrong and if I don’t catch it, I send out some interesting remarks. I usually find it after I hit the send button. Now I know I’m not alone.

      Yes, you can add vanilla,peppermint, lemon extract, or other flavorings you might like.

  2. mybobba1

    I guess I did something wrong, I did post question, did you notice a difference in the cost of buying ready made almond paste vs making your own. Was it significant ?

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Sorry, I didn’t get the original question. Yes there was a difference depending upon which version you made. The egg white and blanched almonds was huge. Where the bought brand I use was about $18.00 per pound, the made version was about $4.97 per pound. As to the other version with the almond flour and simple syrup, it is less expensive but I had almond flour on hand in the freezer and used that. I do not have an accurate cost on that but it is also going to be less if for no other reason than the made version is a greater yield than what is packaged at the store.

  3. apricotsilk

    Have always made my own almond paste. Use ground almonds, icing sugar and egg white. Kneading it is very good therapy.
    Only everused it to cover Christmas cakes and as a layer in a baked stollen.

    After your trials with it…dont know if I would ever bake with it…

    Hope you are keeping well…and happy.

    Janet & Smokie the kitty

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Janet – I agree that this would be good for the purposes you use it. We don’t generally use almond paste to cover cakes or stollen over here. But I will be working on stollen for the winter blogs and keep that in mind. When you use it for the stollen is it inside when you bake it? I have seen it used and thought it would make a great addition.

      I am well and with next week off, happy!

      Hope this finds you and Smokie doing well after the big vote. Hope it won’t effect you negatively.

      1. apricotsilk

        The almond paste is used to seal the rich fruit cakes and stop any crumbs starying onto the royal icing and spoiling it. Like an undercoat…(dirty ice?)
        No way would I not use almond paste on a Christmas cake..its a family recipe from about 1850….(and I dont mean 10 to 7….)

        In the stollen…by tradition it has a layer of almond paste baked into the centre.

        Smokie is now a grand old kitty of 19…and just as spoiled as ever.

        Janet & fur assistant

        1. hfletcher Post author

          Thanks so much for the stollen information. Wow 1850! That is fantastic. I will definitely use the almond paste.

          I think Smokie has a great friend in you. So happy Smokie has been with you for 19 years. We had a wonderful Golden Retriever for 14 years. Mike, especially, misses him. We joke about the fact I hope he misses me as much as he misses Carson. I think that is only half a joke though!

          Take care, my friend. Helen

  4. Manisha

    Hi Helen

    Thanx for all the hard work and testing you did. I know how much effort it takes. Many thanx again.

    I was thinking that almond paste recipe may not work as well for cookies but it should work good in the cakes that use almond paste. I would love to use this recipe to make almond pound cake. I made it once when I got some almond paste from US and loved the taste and texture of it. But didn’t attempt it again as almond paste is not easily available here and is very expensive too.

    Love

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Manisha – happy to hear from you. I think it will work in baked goods also. I will be testing it in an Orange Almond Teacake. You will love this one. I am going to use the simple syrup one with the almond flour because I like the texture better although the egg white one will probably work also but it is a little looser. Actually, knowing me I will test both.

      We should all compare notes when we have done the testing.

      1. Manisha

        Sure …I will let you know. Currently on holiday. I will be back home in the first week of July.

  5. Nikki

    I have tried on several occasions to make Almond paste and it is difficult and the results not as good as the commercially prepared almond paste. I have decided that buying almond paste will give a consistent result and it is worth it. If I am spending time and money on the rest of the ingredients the almond paste is a small portion.
    I will however try cooking the almond paste and see if it makes a difference. I never thought of trying that nor did I check Solo website to see what they do. I have a recipe for a Cranberry Almond Pound cake that is “to die for” and I just might have to make it soon.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Nikki: I didn’t try cooking it because it is so thick I think it may burn. Commercially they can do a lot of things we can’t at home. I love the sound of your Pound Cake. I do intend to see if this homemade version can be used when making a cake. There is an orange almond teacake that would be perfect. Sounds like our two cakes should hang out together.

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