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Recipe calls for ground almonds...

ochound Dec 11, 2010 04:53 PM

Was looking through my pile of recipes (you know, the ones you tear out and toss in a pile to make someday) and I came across a cookie recipe I want to try- chocolate sparkle, sounds so good.

Anyway, it calls for 3/4 c of ground almonds. Can I use the dry roasted, 50% less salt almonds I get at Trader Joe's? Or do I get the raw ones- and if so, do you use them with skins on? I am sincerely hoping I don't have to take the skins off!

I assume you grind them in the food processor, stopping before it turns to almond butter!

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  1. Becca Porter RE: ochound Dec 11, 2010 05:26 PM

    Raw almonds, blanched usually, but not absolutely necessary... If you need a tip on removing the skin: add almonds to boiling water for about one minute, rinse to cool them down, pinch to pop out of the skin. Place in a 300 or so oven a few minutes to dry. I don't actually mind the skins at all.

    Yes, grind them in the FP. If you add a little of the sugar from your recipe, you can grind them finer without turning them into butter.

    1. Breadcrumbs RE: ochound Dec 11, 2010 05:30 PM

      Ground almonds are particularly common in recipes from the UK. In Canada we can purchase ground almonds at the supermarket, bulk stores and health food shops. It's also referred to as almond meal. If you wish to make your own, I'd suggest you purchase blanched almonds (no salt) and grind them very fine. They should not have skins. If you Google "ground almonds" you should see images that would guide you in terms of the texture you're looking for.

      1. c
        critter101 RE: ochound Dec 11, 2010 05:58 PM

        Trader Joe's carries ground almonds.

        3 Replies
        1. re: critter101
          paulj RE: critter101 Dec 11, 2010 06:22 PM

          The TJ ground almonds still have the skin, so the color is mixed. For light colored cookies (such as macaroons), blanched almonds should be use. I'm thinking of making macaroons, and plan on grinding blanched sliced almonds (also TJ) in the food processor (along with the sugar).

          1. re: critter101
            greygarious RE: critter101 Dec 11, 2010 07:13 PM

            TJ's sells them as Almond Meal, and it is with the flour and cake mixes, not in the nut section.

            1. re: greygarious
              visciole RE: greygarious Dec 12, 2010 02:11 PM

              At the Trader Joe's I occasionally visit the almond meal is in with the nuts, so look in both places.

          2. visciole RE: ochound Dec 11, 2010 06:35 PM

            I have ground my own almonds without blanching them for various recipes, and they come out just fine. Of course if you want a smoother texture and no color you would need to remove the skins. It makes it easier to grind them if you add a little bit of the sugar the recipe calls for in with the almonds. And yes, Trader Joe's almond meal has the skin and it works just fine in all the recipes I've used calling for almond meal.

            I would think you could even try using the roasted salted ones and just figure out how much salt is in them from the nutritional info, and cut back on the salt in the recipe. But Id only do this if I wanted to make the recipe NOW and had only the salted ones.

            1. hala RE: ochound Dec 11, 2010 06:43 PM

              Are you making the amazing Thomas Haas chocolate sparkle recipe? I have made that with store bought ground almonds and it turned out great (but not as amazing as cookies bought at the Thomas Haas store). I think you could get an interesting variation by grinding slightly salty almonds, but if you don't skin them first you risk having a weird texture. Almonds are very easy to skin (see above).

              Vancouverites claim that these are the best cookies in the world. I whole heartedly agree.

              11 Replies
              1. re: hala
                goodhealthgourmet RE: hala Dec 11, 2010 07:18 PM

                wow, thanks for those details about the name, hala. i turned up this link in a Google search, and the cookies sound wonderful:


                i can't believe i've never seen the recipe before - gluten-free, bittersweet chocolate, lower in sugar than traditional recipes...it's right up my alley!

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                  bushwickgirl RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 11, 2010 07:41 PM

                  Even I, a die-hard gluten and extra sugar consumer, would love those.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    hala RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 11, 2010 07:50 PM

                    On a quick read, i noticed one thing. The recipe says to bake for 12 minutes in a 325 oven. We made three batches, baked for 10, 12 and 14 minutes (we used convection). The 10 minute batch was undercooked (no cracks), the 14 minute batch was overcooked (dry) and the one that follwed the recipe was perfect. If you're not sure about your oven, Maybe you could test the different cooking times with just one or two cookies.

                    And for heaven's sake, do not dust with powedered sugar. That would just kill the sparkle in your SPARKLE cookies.

                    This is what they will look like once they are baked. If they don't crack, buy a new oven ;)


                    1. re: hala
                      goodhealthgourmet RE: hala Dec 11, 2010 09:00 PM

                      well, i don't have much of a choice re: the oven because i live in a rental and the building owns it ;)

                      thanks so much for all the information!

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        mcf RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 12, 2010 12:39 PM

                        I don't know if I've ever mentioned this to you before, but this recipe (uber easily adapted to low carb for folks like me) reminded me of a flourless cookbook that's also dairy free, but I'd just ignore the margarine and use butter...http://www.amazon.com/Fabulous-Flourl...

                        1. re: mcf
                          goodhealthgourmet RE: mcf Dec 12, 2010 02:28 PM

                          you hadn't, and it looks great, thanks! i just added it to my cookbook wish list, which seems to be growing with alarming speed :)

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            mcf RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 12, 2010 03:45 PM

                            I note from the reviews that spelt is used for dusting pans; I gather that's a gluten non starter you'd have to adjust?

                            1. re: mcf
                              goodhealthgourmet RE: mcf Dec 12, 2010 05:22 PM

                              i noticed that too. i've grown accustomed to it - there are far too many recipes & products out there that contain spelt and still *claim* to be GF. fortunately i've had enough experience that it's now an easy adjustment for me to make. but thanks for looking out :)

                      2. re: hala
                        kattyeyes RE: hala Dec 12, 2010 04:33 AM

                        So excited to have found your post. Not only do these sound incredible, I have purple decorating sugar that should make these look extra SPARKLY like little jewels. :)

                        hala, did you use the recipe ghg posted OR the variation sans honey and cocoa powder...

                      3. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        Caitlin McGrath RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 12, 2010 02:48 PM

                        Have you checked out recipes for Basler Brunsli? A traditional cookie made from chocolate, almond flour, and egg whites, with cinnamon; also naturally gluten-free. I haven't made them (yet), but I have had someone else's homemade, and man are they good. I was thrilled when CathleenH posted this recipe recently: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7408... I have since looked at a few other recipes for them, but none looked as good as this.

                        Speaking of chocolate/almond/not-too-sweet/gluten-free/right up your alley, do you know Alice Medrich's Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte? It's simple and delicious.

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                          goodhealthgourmet RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 12, 2010 03:02 PM

                          Caitlin, this is so funny - i was going to post a note to you on the ginger cake thread to check this one out because i had a feeling you'd like this recipe.

                          thanks for the Basler Brunsli link - i hadn't seen it and the recipe sounds great. looks like i need to go buy some kirsch! i've made the Medrich torte - simple & delicious...though of course i've made some *minor* adjustments to it :)

                    2. greygarious RE: ochound Dec 12, 2010 04:56 AM

                      Who gets credit for this recipe is not entirely clear. The Haas cookie is the same as Gesine Bullock-Prado's "Starry Starry Nights", http://delectablecooks.com/2010/11/04..., which she sells online. Well before she opened her Vermont bakery, she was an entertainment lawyer in California, working with her Oscar-winning sister, Sandra. She baked extensively at that time, originally for gifts, and later, to order.

                      She calls for freezing the shaped balls before baking, so clearly this would be a good recipe to keep in the freezer, to be baked up as needed and served still warm from the oven.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: greygarious
                        goodhealthgourmet RE: greygarious Dec 12, 2010 07:56 AM

                        "She calls for freezing the shaped balls before baking, so clearly this would be a good recipe to keep in the freezer, to be baked up as needed and served still warm from the oven."
                        even better! this one is worth making room in the freezer :)

                        1. re: greygarious
                          hala RE: greygarious Dec 12, 2010 12:24 PM

                          Haas will also ship his frozen. What year did she open her bakery?

                          I have the recipe with honey and cocoa powder. I have never seen the original.

                          1. re: hala
                            greygarious RE: hala Dec 13, 2010 01:21 PM

                            There are no dates given in her first book but based on other clues it appears she was baking in CA about 10-12 years ago, for a few years before she and her husband relocated to Vermont and opened an actual bakery, which they closed after a few years. Then, in the last couple of years, she completed her second book and opened a mail-order bakery.

                            1. re: greygarious
                              hala RE: greygarious Dec 13, 2010 07:41 PM

                              Was she baking this recipe at that time? I did a google search and it seems the earliest her version is mentioned is in 2008 whereas results with Haas's name go back as far as 2003.

                              1. re: hala
                                greygarious RE: hala Dec 14, 2010 07:19 AM

                                No idea - nor was I claiming that GBP originated the recipe. Merely that it's been baked by people other than TH for some time. He may have originated it, or not. GBP started baking with some of her German grandmother's recipes. In her book, she says the macaroon recipe that started her baking career will remain her secret, but that she is sharing the Starry Starry Nights recipe, which is a very close cousin. The implication seems to be that it is the chocolate version of her almond macaroon.

                        2. c
                          cocktailhour RE: ochound Dec 12, 2010 11:46 AM

                          I would totally use those, and grind in FP.

                          1. s
                            sueatmo RE: ochound Dec 12, 2010 11:48 AM

                            Bob's Red Mill does ground almond meal. This is an ingredient in many recipes targeted to low carb eating. You can use the ground almond meal as a flour sub in many cases. You find Bob's Red Mill brand at Whole Foods, many grocers and presumably health food stores. It is easy to find.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sueatmo
                              kattyeyes RE: sueatmo Dec 12, 2010 03:01 PM

                              I use Bob's Red Mill, too--and I can even find it at our local discount grocery.

                            2. o
                              ochound RE: ochound Dec 13, 2010 08:43 AM

                              Thanks for the responses- yes, the Haas recipe is the one I have in mind- glad so many of you like these. Was at the store and I checked out the fresh nut counter- I bought a container of already blanched almonds- so now I'm all set!

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