If you’ve got a food processor and the willingness to *pop!* blanched almonds out of their loosely fitting brown skins, you can make your own almond paste!
It will be a little less smooth than the grocery store kind that comes in a tube, but it will be much more flavorful, with tons of that lovely sweet almond essence that really only comes from freshly ground almonds. It will also be less expensive, and you will rest assured that its three ingredients are not weird chemicals or preservatives: almonds, sugar, and egg whites.
Your food processor will do most of the work once you’ve blanched & peeled your almonds. Peeling the almonds, however, is one of those jobs that takes a little time. I never knew how loose almond skins would get after a quick bath in hot water, or how perfectly the little nuts would pop out of said skins. I recommend tackling this job with a friend, preferably while sitting on a porch swing. Or something along those lines. Try to avoid having toddlers grasping at your ankles and saying Mommy! Hold me! This mars the romance of peeling almonds.
Really, though, peeling the almonds is not tough at all. Dulcie and I peeled the 3 cups of blanched almonds for this recipe in less than 20 minutes. The rest of the recipe takes about 5 minutes.
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