The 16th of February marks National Almond Day, and this year the BAKO team have been incredibly impressed by the ingenious ways local bakers have used almonds in their creations to celebrate the annual event.
From ground almonds to almond butter, flour, oil and milk, almonds make a great addition to bakes for their delicate but distinct flavour. Whether you’re replacing flour with ground almonds or stirring whole almonds into your dough to add a crunchy contrast to biscuits, almonds add an exciting new texture to treats.
Of course there’s no reason to limit using almonds to just one day a year, so we’ve collected some of our favourite almond-inspired recipes so you can experiment with new ways to use these delicious little treats.
The macaron is considered to be the jewel of French pastries in Europe. A crisp, rainbow-bright shell, that’s soft yet delicately chewy, and a silky filling which sandwiches the two halves together, quite simply, they’re delicious.
Macarons are notorious for being difficult to get right but are definitely worth the effort. We’ve put together some of our top tips for perfect macarons here.
Classic flavours such as chocolate, vanilla and rose are often a popular choice but why not try adding a salted caramel twist to your macarons? Stirring flaky sea salt into gooey caramel and sandwiching macaron shells together with the mixture could be perfect for adding a touch of French sophistication to your menu.
For those of you with less time on your hands, BAKO stock a delicious range of macaroon pastes.
Known for its characteristic pink and yellow checkerboard pattern and for being an afternoon tea classic; Battenberg is an ideal way to embrace almond flavours. The yellow sponge is traditionally flavoured with almond extract, ground almonds and vanilla, while a healthy shake of pink food colouring creates its rosier companion. The cakes are then coated in either apricot or raspberry jam, and finished off with a covering of smooth marzipan; making this bake one not to be missed.
If you’re after a richer flavour in your Battenberg, a chocolate twist could be ideal. Why not try replacing some of the flour with cocoa and omitting the pink food colouring to create a brown and yellow checkerboard? Using creamy chocolate spread instead of jam could be the perfect way to add that final chocolate twist that your customers are bound to enjoy.
A crunchy buttery confection, brittle is made from set caramelised sugar and chopped nuts. Why not try roasting whole almonds with a light sprinkling of salt and stirring into molten caramel to create your brittle?
The addition of dried fruit would be a welcome twist and create a delicious fruity contrast to the deep flavours of caramelised sugar and savoury almonds. A box of brittle could also make a beautiful gift for customers this Mother’s Day.
Vanillekipferl are one of our all-time favourites – traditional German biscuits with a melt in the mouth texture. Easily recognisable for their distinctive crescent shape and generous coating of vanilla infused icing sugar, these classic cookies are sure to be a hit all year round.
Made from rich buttery dough similar to shortbread, these biscuits are flavoured with ground almonds and vanilla. But why not try omitting the vanilla and kneading grated orange zest into your dough? Once baked and cooled, dipping the biscuits into melted orange flavoured chocolate would make them a treat you’d be proud to display on your counter.
For those with less time on their hands, an almond cake could be the perfect way to celebrate. When replacing flour with ground almonds it can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio in some recipes, but because its weight, fat content and absorption rates are so different from that of wheat and other grain based flours, it does not always reliably cross over. So it is often best to use recipes that specifically include ground almonds as an ingredient.
Lemon and almond make for a beautiful flavour combination that’s certainly worth trying. Lemon drizzle cake is a British classic loved for its airy sponge, light flavour and moist texture, so why not try whipping up an almond lemon drizzle cake? Simply replace half the flour with ground almonds and after the cake’s cooked, soak it in a sweet but tangy sugar and lemon concoction, then add a generous sprinkling of flaked almonds for decoration.
Will you be celebrating National Almond Day this year? Which almond classics do you plan on whipping up for the big day? We’d love to hear about your creations on Twitter.