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good brands for almond paste?

[This thread was moved from the Home Cooking board --The Chowhound Team]

My sister and I are baking holiday cookies this weekend, and she, being a former pastry cook, wants to make sure we get a good brand of almond paste. She prefers "Solo," the store near me sells "Love N' Bake." Can anyone tell me if "Love N'Bake" is a good brand, or if she should get almond paste in Manhattan before coming to my place in Brooklyn?

Much thanks!

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  1. I prefer Solo too. Odense also make almond paste and marzipan both in tubes. I have never heard of Love N'Bake. Do you know what the ingredients in that brand are?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      Here's the product, though I don't know anything about it personally: http://www.lovenbake.com/ProductCart/...

      1. re: Katie Nell

        That looks good to me. Almonds and sugar. I'd buy it and I really am a Solo user.

      2. re: Candy

        Candy, would you mind being more specific about why you prefer Solo to Odense? I'm learning to use you as my "go to" poster in general, and am curious as I grew up using Odense and may have to search for Solo...

        1. re: BarefootandPregnant

          I find the Solo to be more convenient to use than the Odense in the tubes. I mainly make almond macaroons and I would need several more tubes of the Odense than I have to buy using the Solo in cans. Flavor wise I think they are equals. It is more economics between the two.

          1. re: Candy

            aha! Thanks for the response. I've started looking for Solo in my usual haunts here in the Boston area, but I won't be obsessive about it. We use it primarily for macaroons as well-we've a family tradition of long standing in making them to sneak into performances of The Nutcracker:)

            1. re: BarefootandPregnant

              I went yesterday to get some almond paste at my usual grocery store and they were OUT! All they had was 3 tubes of marzipan. Never had this problem before, I probably gave too many people my recipes!! Anyway a can sounds good, since I can buy it way early and just have it around. Have to look, I've only ever seen #10 cans so far. I'm going to check out Trader Joe on Weds.

      3. Don't know where you are in Brooklyn, but Sahadi's sells American Almond brand almond paste for less than half what you'd pay for it in Manhattan. And it's an excellent almond paste.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JoanN

          Huh, that's funny because I just called Sahadi's, and they are the ones who told me they sell Love N' Bake. But thanks for the tips! You guys are the best.

          1. re: AppleSister

            Very interesting. I wonder if they changed brands recently. I bought American Almond there not more than four or five months ago. Good to know.

        2. It seems that Love N'Bake is a new line from American Almond, being marketed to the home baker. I have seen their products at Sur La Table.

          One difference I've noticed is that Love N'Bake has a 100% natural almond paste. I believe American Almond's excellent regular almond paste is not considered "natural" because it has synthetic almond flavor. Would be interesting to compare the two.

          Over the years, I've found American Almond to be smoother/less lumpy than Solo, though Solo has an excellent flavor as well and can be found in most supermarkets.

          Odense almond paste is a quality product as well, but I don't like using it as much. The higher percentage of sugar that it contains makes for a smoother, softer paste, but I feel that it's not as flavorful.

          1 Reply
          1. re: btnfood

            Aha! Great roundup, btnfood. Thanks for that!

          2. hmm, i work in the pastry kitchen at a large restaurant and i think we use american almond from what it sounds like. i never actually read the label, im so used to just grabbing it down off the shelf. anyhow, its a good almond paste. nice and thick. a solid, really. watch out for the ingredient list tho, as sugar is the number one ingredient, indicating that there is indeed more sugar in the product than almonds. should it be called almond-flavored sugar paste? it is tasty tho. there's also artificial flavor in the ingredient list, as well as some FD&C #whatever-coloring, yknow?

            1 Reply
            1. re: ben61820

              Got Love N' Bake (from American Almond) Almond Paste today at Sahadi. We went for that becasue its first ingredient is almonds, while the first ingredient in their marzipan is sugar.

            2. If you are in Brooklyn, SAHADI on Atlantic Avenue has Almond Paste in cans that is delicious. They also have walnut and other nut pastes. In fact, everything for your holiday baking from Crystalized Ginger to Cinnamon to gorgeous fresh nuts, blanched and unblanched. Try it. You won't be disappointed.

              Just remember they close at 7 and are closed on Sunday.

              1. Just wanted to let you all know that I bought Love N'Bake (made by American Almond as researched by btnfood, thanks!) at Sahadi's in Brooklyn for $6.95/can, and made the best pignoli cookies my sister and I have ever tasted, and she used to make them by the hundreds in her old job. (I also saw this brand at about $0.30 cheaper at the Coop, too.) Thanks for all your help!

                2 Replies
                1. re: AppleSister

                  Wow. $6.95 a can! I think that's nearly double what I used to pay at Sahadi's for the old original American Almond almond paste. But a good thing to know. It used to be worth the cost of the trip to Brooklyn (from Manhattan) to buy it. Perhaps no longer. I'll have to see what they charge for it at the Westside Market. Thanks for the followup.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    I'd never bought almond paste before so I had no idea what was reasonable. I remember thinking as I looked at the price, if they're almost $7 a can, they must be good quality :) In case you're wondering, they were 10 oz. cans.

                2. by the way, since everyone is mentioning sahadi's again and again i would just like to echo that they are indeed an incrdeibly great store. they are the unsung heroes of all of us brooklyn-based bakers. love these guys. they themselves might not know or care much about our baking but they sure do supply the raw products. love em. support support your local!

                  1. I have ordered directly from Solo before - it's really much cheaper that way. 6 cans for $22.50, including shipping!

                    http://www.solofoods.com/cordsous.html

                    I've also used their apricot and raspberry fillings along with almond paste for italian rainbow cookies, and their almond filling label has a great cripe for crescent cookies.

                    1. Thanks for the kinds words about Love'n Bake, the retail brand made by American Almond Products Company in Brooklyn, NY. One clarification, Love’n Bake is an all natural almond paste made by our company and contains approximately 2/3 almonds and 1/3 sugar. Almonds appear first on the ingredient label, as they do on the American Almond cans packaged for bakeries and restaurants. There is no coloring in the product. There is a natural flavoring used in the retail brand product. So I am guessing that one poster’s comments do not refer to American Almond Products.

                      Regarding pricing, which varies among retailers, as it is made from an agricultural commodity, almond paste prices can fluctuate from year to year. Also our retail can is 10 ounces. (For a short time we did a 1 pound can.)

                      -Culinary Director, American Almond Products Co.