Powdered almonds are often called for in pastries and candies, especially in French recipes. Powdered almonds are blanched or natural almonds that are ground into a powder with a small amount of sugar. The sugar absorbs the oil that would otherwise make the nuts into almond butter.
You can use any type of unsalted almonds you have on hand. Don’t use salted almonds, though, as it might be harder to grind up the almond powder and the result will be too salty. Blanched almonds (white, without their skin) will make for a visually appealing white powder, while natural almonds will make a brown powder. Slivered or sliced almonds will reduce the time it takes to make almond powder because they’re already cut into smaller pieces, but they are often much more expensive than whole almonds. Whole unsalted almonds, both natural and blanched, are the least expensive if you buy them from the bulk food section of the grocery store. The Proctor Metropolitan Market, Safeway, and Top Foods have good selections of nuts in their bulk food sections.
You can scale this recipe up if you need more powdered almonds, but almond powder is easiest and best to make in small (less than 1 cup) batches. It’s important to note that you should subtract the amount of sugar you use from the original recipe. The 2 Tablespoons (or more if you scale up!) of sugar from the powdered almonds will be added into the recipe when you add in the powdered almonds, so don’t include the whole amount of sugar that the recipe calls for, or you will get a final product that is too sweet.
- 1/4 Cup unsalted almonds – natural almonds, blanched almonds, slivered almonds, or sliced almonds
- 2 Tablespoons white sugar
- In a food processor or blender, add the almonds and the sugar. Pulse frequently until the almonds have become powdery, and there aren’t too many large chunks of nuts left; 3-5 minutes. Grinding the almonds will be very loud at first, but will get quieter as the big chunks are ground. Don’t let the appliance run too long, as it might overheat!
- Sift the almond powder through a finely-meshed sifter to remove the big chunks of nuts. Almond powder is best if used fairly quickly, since it goes stale quickly. Store almond powder in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. If left in a warm environment, the nut oils may go rancid, and then all your effort will be for naught!
Powdered almonds can be used by people with Celiac disease in recipes as a type of “flour”. If you plan on using powdered almonds frequently or you don’t want to make your own, you can buy pre-made almond flour. Almond flour is ground almonds that have already had their oil pressed out. You can buy almond flour at many health food stores in the baking aisle or bulk food section. Trader Joe’s has almond flour. Make sure to keep almond flour in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer, as it will quickly go rancid if left at room temperature.
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For more info: Make a great pastry with powdered almonds, Jésuites. See parts one and two of my Jésuite articles.
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