Thursday, 3 February 2011

Almond Extract

Next to vanilla extract, almond extract is the second most popular extract in baking. Almond extract gives a sweet almond flavor to any baked good, while vanilla extract brings out the naturaly sweetness in any baked item.

Almond extract is made by combing bitter-almond oil with ethyl alcohol. The flavor is intense and strong.
Are you feeling ambitious and want to make your own batch of almond oil? Here are the easy steps:
1) Placed 12 raw, whole, skinless almonds at the bottom of a dark glass jar.
2) Pour 12 oz of plain vodka over the the almonds.
3) Store in a pantry (or any cool, dry, dark place) for 2 months. Shake the bottle every 5 days for the 2 month period.
4) Use and enjoy!

5) You will have a TON of almond extract: share with friends, family, co-workers, and anyone who loves to bake!
Popular baking items that use almond extract:-Marzipan (almond paste; Popular in Europe)
-Amaretti (almond macaroons; Popular in Itay)
-Financier (small French cake)
-Almond butter (similar to peanut butter)
-Nougat (chewy, nutty confection)

Almond flavors tend to be very popular in Europe, hence you will see many European desserts/sweet items flavored with almond extract and almonds.
Almond extract is VERY strong and pungent! For about one dozen cookies, you only need 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. Too much will cause the baked item to be too rich with almond-flavor. Like, if you over-salt a dish, you cannot "reverse" too much almond extract. If you do, just start over and make a written note in your recipe!

Happy Baking!

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