The multifaceted almond
Almonds provide the retail baker with a large variety of uses from inclusions and toppings to flavorful main ingredients, fillers, butters and more. Almonds carry with them more than just versatility and flavor, there are also the health benefits that come from almonds. American’s today want to have sweet and bold flavors without the guilt. Almonds give bakers the opportunity to provide that to their customers.
According to www.freshplaza.com, new product launches for almonds grew 148 percent between 2005 and 2013. Innova Market Insights reported that this gave almonds the top global ranking for new food products and the most consumed nut in bakery items, chocolate and cereals. The demand for almonds has increased enough this year that almond producers all over the world look to increase production now and into the future.
The healthy eating trend in America has yet to subside, and in fact, gains momentum as time goes on. Yet consumers still want to eat flavorful and sweet treats. Bakeries might find it difficult to deliver the best of both worlds, but there are ways. While sugar will probably never have the capacity to be marketed as healthy, incorporating ingredients perceived by the public as healthy options gives bakeries some footing in marketing to the healthier consumer that still wants something sweet.
Almonds maintain high health and nutrition rankings in multiple categories and offer some of the top benefits in the nut category.
- They’re an excellent source of Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) – an important antioxidant
- They only contain one gram of saturated fat and 13 grams of “good” mono– and polyunsaturated fats
- They contain three and a half grams of dietary fiber, an important touch point for consumers
- They contain eight percent of the Daily Value of calcium, for those with a dairy intolerance
- They are cholesterol-free – may also help to maintain a healthy heart and lower cholesterol
Compared to other tree nuts, almonds come out ahead nutritionally. For example, they:
- Contain the most protein
- Boast 231% more calcium
- Have the least amount of saturated fat
- Possess 174% more vitamin E
- Encompass the highest fiber content
- Delivers 268mg of magnesium per serving
Almond butter and almond paste make a rich, sweet and health-conscious substitute or addition to any traditional recipe. The difference between an almond butter and an almond paste is sugar. An almond butter is simply ground almonds. The grinding releases the natural oils and intensifies the flavor. An almond paste is created the same way, but with added sweetener.
Use almond butters in any formula, recipe or buttercream icing to give it a distinct nut taste. To enhance that flavor, mix with dairy butter. Almond butter makes an excellent substitute for dairy butter when executing vegan recipes, as well.
American Almond makes these suggestions to consider when adapting formulas to include nut butters.
- Nut butters contain approximately 50% by weight of naturally occurring oils. Much of this oil is released when roasted nuts are ground. Adjust your formula to account for additional fat.
- When adapting a cookie dough formula, for example, substitute nut butter for up to 25% of the fat in formula.
- Remember that there is no sugar and very little moisture in nut butter. Consider adding additional liquid to the formula to compensate.
Almond paste also adds the taste of almonds, but at the same time gives it a rich sweetness to enhance the overall flavor. Substitute almond paste into any icing, mousse, cake or cookie recipe. The sugar content in Almond paste also helps products to stay moist and retain a chewy texture after baking.
Finely milled nut flours add color, pronounced flavor and rich mouth feel to your favorite formulas. American Almond Products, mills a selection of nuts into nut flour. The fine texture of American Almond nut flours makes them ideal for pastries, cake batters, French macaroons, fillings and gluten-free applications. Whether you want the delicate, buttery taste of almonds, the striking color of pistachios or the bold flavor of hazelnuts, American Almond has the nut flour for your application.
American Almond offers Blanched Almond Flour, Natural Almond Flour and Dry-roasted Natural Almond Flower in both 5 lb and 25 lb cartons.
Blue Diamond Almonds also offers Extra Fine Natural, Extra Fine Blanched and Fine Blanched. Learn more at www.bdingredients.com