The Almond Tree species originated in the Middle East and South East Asia. Interestingly enough, the fruit of the almond tree is not considered a tree nut; Instead it is called a drupe. A drupe is a fruit that has a layer of skin and flesh surrounding the seed.
Almonds have a lot of health benefits too. They help prevent colon cancer by moving food through your digestive tract. Because of the amount of potassium they possess they aid in regulating blood pressure. And if you have a big meeting eat a few almonds before because it induces high intellectual levels.
Personally, I love almonds. I eat them as a snack. I use them to make nice, crunchy crusts for chicken or fish and I love to use the almond flour to make delicate French Macaroons. Below are recipes for some of my favorite dishes that use almonds as the star. Some recipes are a little more complicated than others (i.e. French Macaroons) but you can still celebrate National Almond Day because in 10 minutes you can make a simple and refreshing Almond milk shake.
Martha Stewart's French Macaroons
Makes 35 macaroons
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, for filling
- MACAROON VARIATIONS
- Chocolate: Substitute 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder for 1/4 cup of the almond flour.
- Coconut: Substitute 2 tablespoons desiccated unsweetened coconut for 2 tablespoons of the almond flour, and add 1/2 teaspoon rum; sprinkle with additional coconut before baking.
- Peanut: Substitute an equal amount finely ground unsalted peanuts (peanut flour) for the almond flour.
- Pistachio: Substitute 1/2 cup finely ground unsalted pistachios (pistachio flour) for 1/2 cup of the almond flour, and add 2 to 3 drops forest-green gel-paste food coloring.
- Raspberry: Add 1 tablespoon fresh raspberry puree, strained, plus 3 to 4 drops dusty- rose gel-paste food coloring.
- Vanilla Bean: Add 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved for another use.
* Raspberry: 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
* Pineapple Buttercream
Make the pineapple buttercream: Bring sugar, corn syrup, and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Boil, undisturbed, until mixture registers 245 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, whisk yolks with a mixer on high speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then pour hot syrup in a slow, steady stream down side of bowl. Increase speed to high, and whisk until mixture is pale, thick, and warm, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition. Increase speed to high, and whisk until smooth.
Read more at Marthastewart.com: French Macaroons - Martha Stewart Recipes