Sunday, March 31, 2013

Grinding your own almonds vs. pre-ground almond meal?

Hi guys! This week consisted of spring break...but for me it was like spring BAKE. hahaha get it?..No?...okay.

I had to make 5 dozen macarons, 5 dozen cake pops, and 3 dozen cupcakes for an easter party tomorrow. It's an order, so I get paid at least. hehe :)

Anyways, I started baking on Sunday because my friend wanted to buy a batch of cookies n' creme and Thai tea macarons. I bought this new Honeyville Almond Flour on amazon for $35 for 5 pounds. I thought that was a pretty good deal...until I used it. They turned out all funky and weird. The batter stayed hard and not flowing like lava like it should. It wouldn't flow like good batter does, so I added more meringue, and it turned out weird, cracked, puffy, and terrible tasting. Who could have ever thought that changing your almonds would affect the macaron?? This means that the only thing different was the almonds, and by the feel of them, they were very dry, no oil at all. So when mixing the macaronage, the oils from the almonds did not release into the batter, making the batter too thick and hard to work with. No matter how much I punched and folded that batter, it didn't thin out. Had to toss those out. :(

So then I went to my local market and bought some Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour, which I have used in the past. It did make the oils come out of the almonds, but for some reason, some macarons came out hollow!!! WTH. I thought I was past this. I beat myself up over this. Some were not hollow, and some were. So sad...I also bought a big bag of blanched slivered almonds from the market. I have always been grinding my own almonds, but I decided I should take the easy way out earlier. That wasn't so promising for me...

So this time I ground up my own almonds each time, and none came out hollow! I also adjusted my recipe a bit. My oven doesn't really read 300 when I put 300, so I put 315 and it comes out to 300. The problem is it gets a bit browned, but it's not a big deal. That way they do NOT come out hollow for sure. They come out a bit crisp, but maturation does the trick. Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. Yum.

So personally, I grind my own almonds to get a good amount of oil out of the batter. You don't want oil-less macarons. Oil = good for macarons. If they are too dry, they won't be moist and chewy inside. :) I don't know if grinding your own almonds is best for you, but if you do pick an almond flour, choose wisely. Bob's Red Mill is kind of unpredictable, so be careful. The tried and true way of preventing hollows is using your own ground almonds. :)


  1. I posted this to another section of your blog. Apologies for not choosing the correct category. Please see below.

    I have a question about the almond flour to meringue ratio. Ever recipe i have seen tells you to measure out your almond flour THEN sift it then mix it. For those of you familiar with this process you know that almost half of your almond flour (with a good sifter) is too large to go into your macaron mix. So do you measure out 1 cup of unsifted and just use what falls through your sifter or do you want to use an whole cup of pre sifted almond flour?

    I get my almond flour from Whole Foods and spend quite a bit of time pre sifting. I have containers of fine and course almond flour. I use the course stuff for other recipes. Is it safe to assume that the method i have been using is correct? Sorry for such long post. This has just been bothering me and no one seems to know the answer to it.

    Also, what type of equipment do you use to grind your almonds?

    1. Hi Ryan.

      I usually make sure I grind my almond flour really finely in a food processor before sifting so that there is little to no chunks of big almond left in the sifter. :) So no need to weigh it again.

    2. Great. Thanks for the tip. I think i want to start making my own almond flour too. What kind of food processor do you have? I tried putting the lager pieces into a blender on low but it just clumped together. Do you run into that problem with your food processor because of all the oils in the almonds?

    3. No problem! :) Yeah I like grinding my own almonds better because most almond flour I buy seems to be too dry and messes up my macarons. I have a simple Black & Decker food processor I got for $40. Blenders don't really work because it's not strong enough and the area isn't small enough to grind it finely. The food processor is nice because I just process the almonds and powdered sugar together and it absorbs any excess oil.

  2. I have been getting oily macs lately and I have no idea why. I havent changed anything in my ways and its driving me crazy. Its like oil spots on top. Would you have any idea why this is happening?!

    1. Hmm I am not sure, maybe the almonds you are using are pretty oily? Usually those are from overmixing though