In what foods can we find almonds
While the almond is often eaten on its own, raw or toasted, it is also a component of various dishes. Almonds are available in many forms, such as whole, slivered, and ground into flour. Almond pieces around 2–3 mm in size, called “nibs”, are used for special purposes such as decoration.
Almonds are a common addition to breakfast muesli or oatmeal.
Almond cream cake covered in slivered almonds from Spain
A wide range of classic sweets feature almonds as a central ingredient. Since the 19th century almonds have been used to make bread, almond butter, cakes and puddings, candied confections, almond cream-filled pastries, nougat, cookies (macaroons, biscotti and qurabiya), and cakes (financiers, Esterházy torte), and other sweets and desserts.
The young, developing fruit of the almond tree can be eaten whole (green almonds) when they are still green and fleshy on the outside and the inner shell has not yet hardened. The fruit is somewhat sour, but is a popular snack in parts of the Middle East, eaten dipped in salt to balance the sour taste. Also in the Middle East they are often eaten with dates. They are available only from mid-April to mid-June in the Northern Hemisphere; pickling or brining extends the fruit’s shelf life.
- In French cuisine, alternating layers of almond and hazelnut meringueare used to make the dessert dacquoise. Pithivier is one of many almond cream-filled pastries.
- In Germany, Easter bread called Deutsches Osterbrotis baked with raisins and almonds.
- In Greece almond flour is used to make amygdalopita, a glyka tapsioudessert cake baking in a tray. Almonds are used for kourabiedes, a Greek version of the traditional quarabiya almond biscuits. A soft drink known as soumada is made from almonds in various regions.
- In Saudi Arabia, almonds are a typical embellishment for the rice dish kabsa.
- In Iran, green almonds are dipped in sea saltand eaten as snacks on street markets; they are called chaqale bâdam. Candied almonds called noghl are served alongside tea and coffee. Also, sweet almonds are used to prepare special food for babies, named harire badam. Almonds are added to some foods, cookies, and desserts, or are used to decorate foods. People in Iran consume roasted nuts for special events, for example, during New Year (Nowruz) parties.
- In Italy, colomba di Pasquais a traditional Easter cake made with almonds. Bitter almonds are the base for amaretti a common dessert. Almonds are also a common choice as the nuts to include in torrone.
- In Morocco, almonds in the form of sweet almond pasteare the main ingredient in pastry fillings, and several other desserts. Fried blanched whole almonds are also used to decorate sweet tajines such as lamb with prunes. Southwestern Berber regions of Essaouira and Souss are also known for amlou, a spread made of almond paste, argan oil, and honey. Almond paste is also mixed with toasted flour and among others, honey, olive oil or butter, anise, fennel, sesame seeds, and cinnamon to make sellou (also called zamita in Meknes or slilou in Marrakech), a sweet snack known for its long shelf life and high nutritive value.
- In Indian cuisine, almonds are the base ingredients of pasanda-style and Mughlaicurries. Badam halva is a sweet made from almonds with added coloring. Almond flakes are added to many sweets (such as sohan barfi), and are usually visible sticking to the outer surface. Almonds form the base of various drinks which are supposed to have cooling properties. Almond sherbet or sherbet-e-badaam, is a popular summer drink. Almonds are also sold as a snack with added salt.
- In Israel almonds are used as a topping for tahini cookiesor eaten as a snack.
- In Spain Marconaalmonds are usually toasted in oil and lightly salted. They are used by Spanish confectioners to prepare a sweet called turrón.
- In Arabian cuisine, almonds are commonly used as garnishing for Mansaf.
Certain natural food stores sell “bitter almonds” or “apricot kernels” labeled as such, requiring significant caution by consumers for how to prepare and eat these products.
Marzipan is used in a number of elegant cakes and desserts. Princess cake is covered by marzipan (similar to fondant), as is Battenberg cake. In Sicily, sponge cake is covered with marzipan to make cassatella di sant’Agata and cassata siciliana, and marzipan is dyed and crafted into realistic fruit shaped to make frutta martorana. The Andalusian Christmas pastry pan de Cádiz is filled with marzipan and candied fruit.
Almonds can be processed into a milk substitute called almond milk; the nut’s soft texture, mild flavor, and light coloring (when skinned) make for an efficient analog to dairy, and a soy-free choice for lactose intolerant people and vegans. Raw, blanched, and lightly toasted almonds work well for different production techniques, some of which are similar to that of soymilk and some of which use no heat, resulting in “raw milk” (see raw foodism).
Almond milk, along with almond butter and almond oil, are a versatile products used in both sweet and savoury dishes.
In Moroccan cuisine, sharbat billooz is one of the best known beverages, served for weddings, it is made by blending blanched almonds with milk, sugar and other flavorings.
Almond flour and skins
Almond flour or ground almond meal combined with sugar or honey as marzipan is often used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour in cooking and baking.
Almonds contain polyphenols in their skins consisting of flavonols, flavan-3-ols, hydroxybenzoic acids and flavanones analogous to those of certain fruits and vegetables. These phenolic compounds and almond skin prebiotic dietary fiber have commercial interest as food additives or dietary supplements.
Historically, almond syrup was an emulsion of sweet and bitter almonds, usually made with barley syrup (orgeat syrup) or in a syrup of orange flower water and sugar, often flavored with a synthetic aroma of almonds. Orgeat syrup is an important ingredient in the Mai Tai and many other Tiki drinks.
Due to the cyanide found in bitter almonds, modern syrups generally are produced only from sweet almonds. Such syrup products do not contain significant levels of hydrocyanic acid, so are generally considered safe for human consumption.