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bhomis

Baking with almonds - use toasted or raw

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Hi. We are thinking about baking cookies using raw almonds and/or almond paste. Since the cookies get cooked in the oven, will the raw almonds / almond paste in the cookies essentially be toasted when finished? Likewise, if using toasted almonds / almond paste, will the almonds / almond paste in the cookies wind up being "over toasted"? Basically, I'm trying to find out whether the better choice is to use raw or toasted almonds / almond paste when baking. Is there an advantage or disadvantage to either?

Thanks

bhomis

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For most cookies, the batter or dough will insulate the nuts enough that they will not toast significantly further. A drop cookie such as chocolate chip bakes for 10-15 minutes and the internal temperature probably doesn't reach above 200F, and only for a few minutes at that. Very well-done shortbread may get toasty all the way through, but most people tend to bake shortbread fairly light. Nuts in biscotti will get a little toastier during the second bake, but I still roast my hazelnuts before mixing them into biscotti (hazelnuts are one that I MUCH prefer toasted). So unless you generally bake your cookies very "well done", go ahead and toast the nuts first if you want that flavor.

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Where I'm from the great majority of cookies are done with almonds. It really depends on the kind of cookies you are making. For things like soft amaretti we usually peel the almonds, blanching in water, and dry in the sun for some days (dehydrator works the same) or buy already almond meal. Also for ricciarelli. For some rustic almond cookies we toast. Toast to light golden and will nor be overcooked, nuttier. Biscotti cegliesi come to my mind, they are fantastic. There is a cook from Rosetta Costantino on southern Italian desserts, I bought for a friend, looks a great book full of recipes with almonds, in the southern Italian tradition.

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I make cookies both ways, I have a nice spritz formula that uses raw almond paste -something you can buy at the supermarket, if you like. I make an almond butter cookie made with roasted almond butter (like a peanut butter cookie), you can buy this at the health food store or grind roasted almonds with an immersion blender to make almond butter. For anything else, I lightly roast the almonds first.

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Hi, thank you. So it looks like overall general consensus is that if I'm to use almonds in a cookie, go with toasted or blanched almonds.

Thanks

bhomis

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