The best part about weekends? The blank slate, full of uncertainty and expectations. There’s no commitments, just possibilities.
I just happen to be part of the crowd that starts storming up recipes or test recipes during my weekend leisure hours. Sometimes that includes macarons, which happen to be the latest craze in the food blogging world. But hold it. I also happen to not like spending a fortune on a recipe so finicky and unreliable.
Macarons are composed mainly of egg whites, sugar and almonds. Have you seen the price of blanched, sliced almonds lately? I think I’ve seen them for about eight dollars for half a cup. Uh, no.
Enter Costco’s big bag of almonds. Phew. The price being reasonable, my only qualm now are the almond skins. When you grind them up in the food processor, it works fine, but the ground skins create a more noticeably bumpy surface and little speckles all over your macaron shells. Which is great if you like that kind of thing. Not so much if you’re a monochrome kind of girl.
So after a few test batches, here’s how you can blanch your own almonds. Of course, you’re dealing with getting the skin off of each almond so it’s not a fast process. Best way to deal with it? Do it in front of your favorite TV show!
Honey’s Method for Blanching Almonds:
1. Boil a pot of water- this depends on the amount of almonds you want to blanch. I do the entire bag of Costco almonds at once, but you may just choose to do a handful at a time. Up to you. You need enough boiling water to cover the almonds. Think raging boil.
2. Carefully transfer the almonds in to the pot of boiling water. Wait 2-3 minutes and turn off the flame. Wait 1 more minute. The almonds should have a wrinkled look and some of them may be floating to the top. Drain the almonds in a colander and run over cold water to stop the cooking.
3. When completely cool, transfer the drained almonds to a big bowl. The almonds skins should now easily slip away from the inside kernel. Slip each skin off each kernel, transferring the blanched almonds to a new bowl. Spread the almonds out on a baking sheet in one layer and dry them out in a 200F degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until they no longer feel wet.
Use immediately for your favorite macaron recipe or store the almonds in the freezer for maximum freshness. Make sure you double bag them, though, because nuts tend to pick up other funky odors easily.