692- Almond Paste / عجينة اللوز
1 kg (35 oz) almonds
250g icing sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon arabic gum
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
Vegetable oil for frying
Step 1: Blanch the almond
1- In a saucepan over medium heat filled with boiling water, place the raw whole almonds.
2- Let the almonds boil for 1 to 2 minutes.
3- Drain the almonds from the water and place them on a plate. Gently squeeze the almonds with your fingers and loosen the skin from them. Dry the blanched almonds.
Note: For a large batch of almonds, use a kitchen towel! Place the almonds in a kitchen towel and rub them vigorously.
4- Separate the almonds into two batches. For additional flavor, one batch will be fried and the other not.
Step 2: Fry the almonds
5- In a frying pan over medium heat, heat some vegetable oil.
6- Once the oil is hot, place a batch of blanched almonds in the pan. You can test if the oil is ready by dropping one almond; if you see tiny bubbles rise around it then the oil is good to go!
7- Fry the almonds, for a few minutes, stirring constantly until they get a beautiful golden brown color.
8- As soon as the almonds are colored transfer them into a plate covered with paper towel to absorb excess oil. The almonds are very hot and will continue to darken a bit – that’s why you want to remove them from the oil as soon as they get colored or they would burn!
Step 3: Prepare the almond paste
9- Place the blanched almonds that were not fried in a food processor and mix until they become a paste.
10- Add the powdered sugar and melted butter. Continue mixing until you get a smooth paste. Place the almond paste in a bowl.
11- Place the fried almonds in a food processor and mix until they become a smooth paste.
12- Combine the two almond mixtures.
13- For the special flavor of Moroccan almond paste, take a few pebbles of Arabic gum (called Meska) and mix them with a teaspoon of powdered sugar. Crush with the back of a spoon until you get a fine powder.
14- Add the Meska powder, ground cinnamon, and orange blossom water to the almond paste. Mix all the ingredients until well combined. The paste should be smooth enough that you can roll it into shapes.
15- You can keep this almond paste in an airtight container for up to 1 month in the fridge or couple of months in the freezer.