Because you can do so many truly amazing things with them: from horchata and amaretto liqueur to pesto and flourless cake. And let’s not forget about almond “milk” which is basically just water with minuscule solids of blended nut pieces that fly around suspended. That’s why such preparations are called suspensions. Stabilized colloidal suspension of ground almonds in water if you please.
By the way, this one is so easy, you gotta try it at home right now. Just pour 4 cups of water over 2 cups of raw almonds and let them soak overnight or at least for 6 hours. Do this straight in your blender by the way. The next morning just replace the water, plug the blender in and blend on high for a couple of minutes, until smooth. Adjust the sweetness with maple or birch syrup, honey or molasses. When you are happy with the level, pour the contents into the colander lined with cheesecloth or a cotton cloth. Or use a special nut milk bag for that special occasion! Allow the solids to drain, pressing out any remaining liquid. And there you have it – you own almond milk. Chill and enjoy as is or in a cup of coffee.
Wait, don’t throw away the solids. It’s called pulp. Dry it in the oven at a low temperature, cool overnight, and finally, process into an almond meal using a food processor or a high-speed blender. It can be used in a variety of recipes from crackers and muffins to cookies and quick breads.
But almonds act good in pastry being whole. When ground to fine powder, they act like normal flour, in terms of thickening. Basically it isn’t a type of milled flour, rather it’s simply ground blanched almonds that lack their skins. And basically many people would use flour and meal interchangeably in baked goods. But sometimes, when you need a more cake-like consistency, you should opt for almond flour. Mainly, because of its lighter texture.
If you want to get a little dirty, you could just blanch your fresh nuts and simply blitz them in a blender, until fine powdery flour. What’s more exciting is that in case you have a really powerful blender you can overdo your almonds to the state when they start exuding oil. And that’s how you get your own almond butter. But that’s another story.
With almond flour in your hands, you can start baking flourless cakes. All you have to do is to mix the ground almonds, salt, and granulated sugar with some eggs, butter, and any flavorings of your choice, pour the mixture into a mold and bake. And that’s it, simply search for “flourless almond cake” and find your favorite: lemon, peach, chocolate, vanilla.