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ISO: Almond Powder/Flour for Macarons

Okay!!! That's it. I am sick of spending on overpriced and crappy macarons. I'm going to try to make them myself again...... (first time was.. er .. very unsuccessful =_=) I guess the last straw was my visit to Moroco Chocolat in Yorkville this afternoon. They had 12 flavours and I tried them all.... (27 bucks total) The only one that was remotely good was the salted caramel... but the caramel chunks were like gigantic! I like any decor on the macaron to be small and delicate like the macaron itself.. not big and clumsy.

The flavours were salted caramel, lemon, coffee, sour cherry, chocolate, orange chocolate, pistachio (which had this weird floral taste), lavender cassis (way too sweet jammy), vanilla (not that great), coconut, raspberry, peanut butter and jelly. The salted caramel crumbled nicely in my mouth and was not overly chewy like most of the rest. Peanut butter and jelly was overwhelmed by the taste of the jelly aka JAM. The lavendar cassis was also like biting into a jam cookie. I guess I'm not too into fruit/jelly fillings...... but when it comes to Pierre Herme's I can just eat them alllllll.. Sigh. Also, the filling was not as substantial in the Moroco Chocolat macarons... when you eat a PH macaron and you bite it in half you can see a good portion of the filling between the layers of the meringue... when you bite into these ones you get the meringue and meringue sandwiched against each other and the filling is nowhere to be seen! (slight exaggeration.. but it really wasn't much better)

So...... does anyone know where to get almond flour or finely ground almonds? I got some ground almonds before from Zehr's in Waterloo but I was hoping for something even more fine....

And does anyone know where we get those gold flakes or shimmery stuff for dusting?

On the side: Does anyone else get really annoyed when people call them macarOOns? I couldn't help but cringe upon hearing it referenced that way on a youtube video. Gah! And I'm sure they weren't talking about coconut macaroons because it was a special on macarons....

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  1. hippotatomus - I haven't made macarons myself - but for almond flour - can you not finely grind sliced almonds in a food processor? cheap and easy?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Apple

      If you overgrind it.... it kind of turns into a paste. It's pretty hard for myself to achieve that equilibrium between really fine and paste.. Or maybe my blades weren't dry enough. I thought by buying it I could get a really fine professional grade kind of powder.. I know it would be a lot cheaper to do it myself though.. if only I could do it right :(

      1. re: hippotatomus

        Buy fresh whole almonds, blanche 'em yourself, dry overnight, grind in a coffee grinder, sift--works superbly for homemade marzipan and should work for you.

        1. re: hippotatomus

          i've ground whole almonds with reasonable success at times. i found it actually helped a lot to include some confectionary sugar from the recipe to keep it dry. however this is from memory from over 3 years ago so it could be incorrect..... i just recall that otherwise i got a nut paste pretty quick. it didn't make sense at the time but somehow it worked.

          as someone mentioned below, health food shops are your best bet. i usually get mine from tutti frutti in kensington but that is a matter of proximity to my regular shopping.

      2. can't help with the almond flour, but i sympathize about your macaron quest. tried the moroco ones recently too and a couple of them were just so dense in the middle. they looked pretty, and the meringue part i found was ok, but the filling is totally not what i expected or wanted. clearly the pierre herme standard is hard to live up to :( (i also have the pet peeve about macarOOns too!). good luck with the search, i might consider making them at some point too so will watch this topic with interest!

        1 Reply
        1. re: auberginegal

          Yeah! At first I was only going to sample a few of the flavours since I learned a lesson in my quest to always sample one or two before buying the whole smorgasbord.... but they really made it so pretty in the cases and all! You would think macarons were one of their specializations since they had their own cases right in the middle of the store... boo.

        2. They are sold at Whole Foods in Yorkville if you're in that area again. But it is expensive, about 20 dollars for a pack from Bob's Red Mill.

          1 Reply
          1. re: radiopolitic

            I just saw Bob's Red Mill almond meal/flour at the Loblaw's at the Yonge/Yonge Blvd. store. It was $12.99 for a 450g bag. This is one of those silly "Loblaw Great Food" locations rather than a "regular" Loblaw's, so I don't know if other Loblaw's would carry it. But if you're in the area, they definitely have it.

          2. You can find almond flour at health food stores, bulk stores, and even some supermarkets. That said, I endorse the idea of grinding blanched almonds yourself. It might help to toast them slightly, which will lessen the likelihood of ending up with paste. Don't brown them, though.

            I suggest trying the macarons at Bonjour Brioche if you are anywhere in the area.

            You should be able to find the edible gold at any store selling baking supplies. You could also try Bulk Barn or an Indian food store.

            7 Replies
            1. re: embee

              Thanks! Have you used any brands in particular that seemed to have the best results? Or is it best to grind them yourself?

              I will give Bonjour Brioche a shot sometime soon hopefully. Was there anything in particular that was very good?

              1. re: hippotatomus

                I was referring specifically to the macarons at Bonjour Brioche. I don't have any brand info for almond flour. I have only bought it in bulk - sorry.

              2. re: embee

                I second the Bulk Barn reco. They tend to have an impressive selection of "alternative" ingredients.

                1. re: wontonfm

                  was at a bulk food store today and saw 'ground almond' - it looked a little 'wetter' than what i would have thought flour would be. is there any difference between almond flour and ground almonds? if not, is there a way to dry out what looks to be wetter/clumpier ground almonds?

                  1. re: auberginegal

                    spread them out on a baking sheet in a low temp oven... and watch...

                    1. re: auberginegal

                      "Almond flour" is simply almonds ground into flour. The ground almonds at a bulk store may be more granular than you want in a flour, but should not be "wet".

                      Yes, you can dry ground almonds further in the oven. Then pulse the almonds carefully in a food processor to make them finer. I would hesitate to buy wet/clumpy ground nuts.

                      1. re: embee

                        good to know. for the record, the ground almonds i saw at bulk barn weren't really wet, but the brief swirl i did with the scoop did reveal it was not fine in texture (what i saw sort of reminded me of darker brown sugar, the way it clumps together when it's soft and not rock solid, but this was less clumpy). it sounds like the oven and further processing would work out ok.

                2. I've used the ground almond at Bulk Barn for making macarons with reasonable results and as long as the supply is fresh, that's my go-to source. I suggest that you visit bulk stores with a huge turnover instead of buying pre-packaged ones.

                  Grinding almond in a food processor will not likely give you better result that what you can get in Bulk Barn. If you look at professional macarons recipes, they typically call for tant pour tant. That's half almond flour and half icing sugar and it's finely grinded. You will probably need to order them from baking supplies stores.

                  1. I make macarons at home using almond powder that i grind myself. the instructions above are spot on. (blanch almonds, remove skins and let them dry, then grind) i would add this reserve some of the icing sugar you are using in your macaron recipe. begin grinding the almonds and add the sugar, table spoon at a time to get the consistency and to reduce the accumulating moisture from the nut oil. i usually add 2 tb to start and keep adding as i grind. i have never added more than 10-20% of the almond weight to offset the oils.

                    1. I found ground almonds (dry, flour-like) is sold at Lennie's Health Centre on Pariliament at Carlton St. yesterday.

                      I've found only almond paste (not flour) at the Leslie St. Bulk Barn. I've used this paste to make decent macaroons from a Martha Steward recipe (which calls for almond paste and not ground almonds or almond flour).

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: DishyDiva

                        I stand corrected: I went to Bulk Barn today...Indeed they have ground almonds! I also typed "macaroons" by mistake above (instead of macarons). Hope the typo didn't annoy the OP too much. :-P

                        By the way, the almond paste at Bulk Barn isn't made of pure %100 almonds. Besides a number of other ingredients, it contained icing sugar.

                        1. re: DishyDiva

                          Are the ground almonds at bulk barn the same as the described dry and flour-like sold at Lennie's??

                          1. re: hippotatomus

                            i found dry and flour-like almond powder at metro on front st in the st lawrence neighborhood. I'm sure the little shop in the back basement of SLM would have almond powder as well.

                            1. re: hippotatomus

                              Yes, they're both dry and flour-like. I could be wrong but the ground almonds at BB may be a smidgen coarser.

                              1. re: DishyDiva

                                Grind your own. This stuff goes stale quick. The bigger the pile, the longer it's languished with the oils oxidizing and the taste going decidedly funky.

                            2. re: DishyDiva

                              Their almond paste seems to be more of a marizpan type thing.

                              I've used Bulk Barn's ground almonds in a pinch. Sneak a little taste test first. Mine were fine but I purchased them during the prime baking season before Christmas.

                              But preparing your own is much, much better. It's worth the extra effort for something special.

                              1. re: basileater

                                The Bulk Barn almond paste is, unfortunately, not very good.

                                1. re: embee

                                  I'm not surprised, embee. The unnatural-looking yellow colour is off-putting, imo. In contrast, the almond paste at Lennie's HSC is off-white and of better quality. (I apologize if this strays from the OP's topic.)

                          2. Hey hippotatomus,

                            I wondered how your macarons turned out? For future reference you can purchase almond flour from any health food store/health food section in any decent grocery store. :-)