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good brands for almond paste?

AppleSister Dec 8, 2006 07:51 PM

[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!

  1. Candy Dec 8, 2006 08:13 PM

    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
      Katie Nell Dec 8, 2006 08:15 PM

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

      1. re: Katie Nell
        Candy Dec 8, 2006 08:29 PM

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

      2. re: Candy
        b
        BarefootandPregnant Dec 8, 2006 08:38 PM

        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
          Candy Dec 10, 2006 07:27 PM

          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
            b
            BarefootandPregnant Dec 11, 2006 10:57 AM

            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
              coll Dec 11, 2006 12:32 PM

              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. JoanN Dec 8, 2006 08:34 PM

        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
          AppleSister Dec 8, 2006 08:51 PM

          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
            JoanN Dec 8, 2006 09:08 PM

            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. b
          btnfood Dec 9, 2006 03:07 AM

          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
            JoanN Dec 9, 2006 11:37 AM

            Aha! Great roundup, btnfood. Thanks for that!

          2. b
            ben61820 Dec 9, 2006 03:58 PM

            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
              j
              jasmurph Dec 10, 2006 01:10 AM

              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. f
              Fleur Dec 10, 2006 07:44 AM

              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. AppleSister Dec 11, 2006 02:07 PM

                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
                  JoanN Dec 11, 2006 02:14 PM

                  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
                    AppleSister Dec 11, 2006 02:26 PM

                    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. b
                  ben61820 Dec 11, 2006 03:38 PM

                  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. 2m8ohed Dec 12, 2006 01:42 AM

                    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. p
                      Priscilla Martel Dec 14, 2006 04:23 PM

                      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.

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