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How to Make Your Own Almond Paste

Almond Paste

Almond paste is one of those ingredients that can be hard to find and a bit pricey, yet when a recipe calls for it, there is no substitute. Most often found in marzipan, almond paste has a variety of uses for the home baker. Used as a filling for many pastries, it can also be crumbled down and/or mixed with other ingredients to impart an almond flavor.

Blanched Slivered Almonds make up the Almond Meal used to make Almond Paste. Photo courtesy Low Carbist.

Up until this week, I never thought about making almond paste at home. I bet you probably didn’t think it about it either. I had found a recipe from Tartine, one of the most wonderful dessert cookbooks out there. There was an Almond Breakfast Cake in there calling my name, but it required almond paste. Off I headed to our local grocery store, but was super disappointed to find no almond paste. To get it shipped to my home immediately would have cost, not to mention the stuff already costs a lot.

Love ‘N Bake Almond Paste sold on King Arthur Flour’s website.

King Arthur Flour  sells their almond paste for $9.95 for 10 ounces. Typically in the grocery store you can purchase 7 ounces of various brands for about $8-$10. Now while King Arthur’s brand is awesome, (I’ve used it before with great results), I just can’t purchase as much as I would like even on sites like Amazon where you can buy other varieties in bulk.

I went back home a bit disgruntled until I realized a blessing in disguise. Here I am trying to cut out all processed foods in my diet, and yet I’m trying to buy almond paste….duh. I then did a lot of research and needed to understand what’s actually in almond paste. The basis is slivered blanched almonds and sugar. The almonds are ground down into almond meal (also known as almond flour). From here recipes can vary, but a binder in the form of corn syrup, egg whites, cooking oil or cream are used. I did find out that most commercial almond pastes can use peach or ground apricot kernels to help keep costs down…..not acceptable when it’s called almond paste guys.

The binder for Jacques Torres almond paste includes honey, sugar and water. No weird ingredients here!

The binder for Jacques Torres almond paste includes honey, sugar and water. No weird ingredients here!

Almonds being ground finely to be added into almond paste.

Almonds being ground finely to be added into almond paste.

Warm almond paste straight from the food processor.

Warm almond paste straight from the food processor.

Almond Paste all wrapped up and ready to store.

Almond Paste all wrapped up and ready to store.

When I was digging around for recipes, it was important to me to use the best ingredients in my home, but also to try and make a gluten free, and if possible, a semi-non-perishable version. In the end I settled on the recipe by  Jacques Torres aka Mr. Chocolate and master pastry chef. His binder used honey of all things, and I was pleasantly surprised on how the floral notes of the honey sung through and provided a greater depth to the almond paste that I could have ever imagined. While his recipe is almost vegan (depending on where you stand on honey), this version pretty much hit all the areas I required. Below you’ll find the recipe from Food Network and Jacques Torres. By the time everything was said and done, this recipe warranted about 32 ounces and only cost me $15.00 with organic ingredients. Now that I have a lovely excess of almond paste, you may be wondering what I’d use almond paste for.

Almond and Raspberry, an amazing flavor combination and my favorite! Photo courtesy of 5 Dollar Dinners.

One of my earliest memories of almond paste came from my favorite birthday cake and favorite flavor combinations, all thanks to my Mom. She started with an angel food cake of which she sliced horizontally. In the middle she’d add almond paste and raspberry jam. She would heat the almond paste up slightly, and then roll it out to layer it evenly between the cake slices. She’d assemble the cake, coat the cake with fresh whipped cream with a little extra almond flavoring, and serve immediately…..Yum, I so need to make that again.

Almond Cloud Cookies made from a recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour.

Almond Cloud Cookies made from a recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour.

Other uses for almond paste include a filling for croissants, ability to make Italian almond cookies or almond cloud cookies. You can also pickup a copy of Tartine and make their Almond Breakfast Cake. I also like using a portion of it in pie crusts, or in crumb topping. The beauty of the recipe below is because it doesn’t contain egg whites, so it will absolutely stay in the fridge for longer period of time until you decide what to do with it!

Almond Breakfast Cakes with Strawberries, recipe courtesy of Tartine.

Almond Breakfast Cakes with Strawberries, recipe courtesy of Tartine.

So thank you Food Network and Jacques Torres. Go out and conquer those almonds!

Homemade Almond Paste

I cup plus 3 tablespoons (250 grams) Sugar
1/4 cup (75 grams) Honey
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (100 grams) Water
3 cups plus 3 tablespoons (500 grams) blanched, whole, Almonds or equivalent of Almond Flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 grams) Kirsch or simple syrup, optional*
Scant 1/4 cup (50 grams) butter*
Place the Sugar, Honey and Water in a saucepan and bring to a strong boil. Place the Almonds in the food processor and grind until coarse. Remove the boiling Sugar from the heat and pour over the coarse Almonds. Blend until smooth. This may take 10 minutes or more, depending on the strength of the food processor. Remember, food processors are not usually strong enough to yield the same consistency as the almond paste that you can buy. If your mixture is too thick and the food processor is straining, you can add a little Kirsch or simple syrup to the processor. Add the liquid slowly and stop when the processor is moving more freely. The quality of almond paste is determined by how smooth the consistency is.

Wrap the almond paste in plastic wrap and allow it to cool. When you are ready to use it, knead in the butter. The butter makes it smooth and not so sticky.

*I didn’t need the simple syrup or butter, my two batches turned out great!

Recipe courtesy Food Network and Jacques Torres

Almond Paste

Written by Tarte Chic

Author Kat Nielsen (formerly Kat Wojtylak) is a creative type with an immense love for food. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences.

Comments (15 comments)

  • Martha Bates
    November 6, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    In the recipe above, would the equivalent almond flour mean that I would use 500 grams OR does the almond flour measure out at different ratio than the whole almonds?

    • November 7, 2014 at 9:01 am

      Martha – When you’re ready to make this recipe, you’re wanting 500 grams of almond flour/meal to bring together in the recipe. If you’re starting with unblanched almonds and then grinding them in your food processor, 500 grams of them should weigh out to be 500 grams of almond flour. It doesn’t hurt to double check and make sure once you’ve ground them. Where you need to be careful is if you’re measuring out the unblanched almonds in cups and not weighing them. You’ll typically end up with less volume when it’s ground into a powder because the almonds don’t fit right next to one another in the cups and you have a lot of air space. Finally, you can use whole almonds, again better to weigh than do volume, but the texture will be a little grittier and you’ll have flecks of brown throughout. Does that answer your question?

      • Martha
        November 8, 2014 at 10:39 pm

        Thanks so much for your reply. I just wasn’t sure that 500 grams of whole almonds would weigh 500 grams when ground into flour. Appreciate your prompt response.

      • Martha
        November 8, 2014 at 10:44 pm

        Actually, because almond paste is so expensive, I was wanting to make my own by blanching and grinding the almonds then I began pondering using almond flour instead of whole almonds. Any tips you can share will be appreciated.

      • November 12, 2014 at 5:27 pm

        Making your own actually equates to a lot more for the money, but it does mean and upfront cost.The benefit I like is you know what’s going into it. SOOO many of the store bought kinds are diluted down with peach kernels which is totally unacceptable. For me, those two reasons are enough 🙂 As far as almond flour vs. whole almonds, I like almond flour because the grind is a lot finer than you’ll be able to do with any at home machines. There are more nutrients in whole almonds and you may be able to save a bit on price. Does that help?

      • Martha Bates
        November 12, 2014 at 11:33 pm

        Well, I purchased almond flour at a health food store. I have not yet opened the bag but it looks like it may be ground almonds with the skin. I am wondering if that will make difference in either the texture or the taste of the almond paste. I am wanting to make Rainbow Cookies that call for Marzipan so I’m wondering if I can use the almond flower I bought for that paste. I’m thinking it probably won’t matter on the color because of colored batter, but don’t want to jeopardize the flavor. I have not really found any blanched almonds other than very small packages and my first attempt to do it was less than successful, though I have almonds to try again when I have the time and inclination to do so.

      • November 20, 2014 at 2:58 am

        So ground almonds should substitute seamlessly for almond flour or almond meal. You’ll be getting more nutrients than the blanched almonds. The only thing it will alter with your almond paste is a more brown and flecked color, but that should be it. Now speaking of marzipan, almond paste and marzipan cannot be substituted interchangeably. Almond paste is primarily used as a filling in pies and cakes, whereas marzipan is used to decorate a cake, or eaten in candy like confections. Typically almond paste contains about twice as much almonds as marzipan counterpart, giving it a full almond flavor, where as marzipan contains more sugar. Here’s just one recipe for marzipan: http://candy.about.com/od/marzipancandyrecipes/r/Marzipan.htm. Also, since you’re having trouble finding blanched almonds, you may look at blanching them yourself to remove the skins (I never knew about this!): http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-diy-almo-14350

  • Stacey Ausherman
    June 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    I have a cookie recipe that calls for 3 1/2 oz. of almond paste. I don’t want to use almond paste at all because I do not want the almond taste in the cookie. Is there anything that I can use in place of the almond paste?

    Thank you!

    • June 23, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Hi Stacey! Thanks for the question. First off, can you tell me a little more about the recipe itself? Depending on the weight of other ingredients, you may not even be able to taste the almond flavor in the end recipe. What I have noticed is that many times, supermarket almond paste varieties are made with peach kernels and have less flavor in turn. Therefore they add in almond flavoring almost giving you a harsh instead of subtle taste. When I bake with this almond paste recipe called for above, it’s such a subtle almond flavor you barely taste it which is why I like it so much- way more versatile. At the end of the day, there is no real great substitute for almond paste, but let’s see what we can come up with to help!

  • Elizabeth Miskiewicz
    April 10, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Hello, is it possible to replace honey for corn syrup ?

    • April 15, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      Both honey and corn syrup are invert sugars, so I would say they’d behave the same in the recipe. I’m not a big fan of corn syrup so I can’t speak from experience in substituting, but it’s worth a try. You might have to adjust for sweetness, but give it a go with a small batch and see!

  • October 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Thanking you… I can now try and make these humm

  • Shiya
    October 3, 2013 at 12:06 am

    can’t wait to try this. i’ve been wanting to try recipes that require almond paste, but nowadays a tube of almond paste at an organic store is expensive.

  • June 30, 2013 at 10:50 am

    […] How to Make Your Own Almond Paste (eatyourtarteout.com) […]

    May 25, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Almond paste, one of my favorite flavors in the world! lol I remember the raspberry almond cake well, two of my favorite flavors. lol Great job kiddo on going one step further making your own almond paste!!!

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