It’s week 2 in the Macaron Files Series and this week we’re talking Almonds
Almonds are the key ingredient when making macarons, so it follows that you need to know your almonds.
To start, almond flour, almond meal and ground almonds are all the same thing! So don’t be confused if you see them labelled differently in various stores.
If you choose to buy almond flour
- Make sure that the almonds are fresh, so basically they haven’t been sitting on the shelf for too long, because not only will this lead to stale almonds, but also oiliness which is something that you definitely do not want
- Before using your almond flour you will most likely need to sift it to get out any residual grainy bits. Now, while you can get away with about a tablespoon of slightly rough almond pieces in your mix, any excessively chunky pieces are going to tear not so pretty little hole in your shells or give you a very rough exterior instead of the smooth shiny shell that you are after.
- If you find that your almonds are oily, the easiest way to rectify this is by running it through the food processor for a bit with some icing sugar. The icing sugar absorbs the oiliness and since it is a part of your recipe, you’re not adding in any foreign ingredients. You could also put the almond flour on a tray and into the oven for a few minutes, but personally I’ve had far too many instances of being distracted and ending up with toasted almond flour so I tend to stick to the icing sugar method.
If you choose you grind your own almonds
- The first thing that you would need to do is blanch your raw almonds. So, if the skin is still on the almonds, follow the easy steps below.
- Now, the tricky party about making your own almond flour is that its very easy to take it a bit too far and create something closer to almond butter than almond flour. The key is to run the almonds through the food processor in short bursts rather than trying to get it done in one go. I use a coffee grinder because I find that I get a finer powder, although it does take a whole lot longer than a food processor because of the restriction on how much you can do at a time.
- Again, after grinding sift the almond flour to remove and chunky bits.
How to store you almond flour
The best way to store your almond flour, whether you have bought it or ground it yourself, is in an airtight container, either in the fridge or the freezer. Alternately they will also be fine in a cool, dry place. The main thing is to keep them away from heat and humidity. A warm environment will cause the almonds to give off their oil and like I said previously, you don’t want oily almond flour.
If you missed the first post in this series you can find it here : Tip 1/20 – Know Your Oven and look out for the next tip next Wednesday where I talk about the pros and cons of using baking paper vs silicone baking mats.
There are also a few spots left in our Women’s Day Macaron Class on 1 August 2015, so you go here and book.
If you found this tip helpful or have anything to add, please leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.