All You Need to Know About Almonds

We broke down the mighty almond in all its forms—blanched, flour, extract, and more—so you know which to use when.
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almond with marzipan fruit plate

Marzipan 

Best described as sweet almond Play-Doh, this confection is made by grinding blanched almonds with sugar and glucose syrup. It’s often dyed and molded into realistic-looking fruit shapes. 

Blanched

Briefly boiling raw almonds helps loosen their brown skins, giving you naked nuts. Why go to all that trouble? Skins add unwanted flecks and texture to pastries and have tannins, which can add a bitter flavor. 

Butter

Just like peanut butter, but with almonds. The nuts are ground until they release their oils, creating a creamy spread. 

Extract

Sweet almonds are the ones that you snack on by the handful. Bitter almonds are used to make almond extract. To make sure you’re getting the real stuff, look for pure almond extract. The label should list bitter almond oil, alcohol, and maybe water. That’s it. 

Flour/Meal

These finely ground almonds add a nutty flavor and a hearty texture to baked goods; or sprinkle some on top of a casserole in place of breadcrumbs. Almond meal tends to be coarser than almond flour, but the terms are often used interchangeably. 

Milk

When almonds are soaked, blended with water, and strained, they make a pretty convincing milk stand-in. Companies often fortify almond milk with vitamins and minerals for milk-like nutrition. 

Paste

Don’t let the marzipan-ish packaging fool you: With nearly double the almonds, less sugar, and a coarser texture, this nutty stuff is better for baking, not sculpting. 

Roasted

Ever try a raw almond next to a roasted one? The ones that got the toasty treatment have cooked in their aromatic oils for a nuttier-tasting nut.