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A food processor or blender may be used to make ground almonds, or they may be ground by hand using a rolling pin. Ground almonds are easier to make if the nuts are cut into small chunks first. It can be helpful to grind only a small amount of nuts at one time for an even consistency. These ground nuts should not be over-processed, which is indicated when they begin to secrete a bit of oil. Blanched or unblanched nuts may be used when cooking with almonds.
Almonds are generally very hard nuts that can be difficult to grind by hand. For this reason, many cooks like to make ground almonds in a food processor or blender; a coffee bean grinder can also be used. Whole nuts can be difficult to chop and may clog up electric blades, so smaller pieces might produce better results. Using a pulsing action for grinding almonds can help ensure they are processed evenly and keep them from sticking to the blades. Should some sticking occur, powdered sugar could be sprinkled over the nut mixture to help absorb some of this nut's natural oil and ease the process.
If a blender or food processor is not available, ground almonds may be produced with a rolling pin. This can be done by placing waxed paper on a countertop and then laying chopped almonds on top of it. By moving the rolling pin back and forth, the nuts can be ground very finely and evenly. Some cooks like to place an additional sheet of waxed paper over top of the nuts because this tends to help the rolling pin glide smoothly.
While finely ground almonds can be ideal for many recipes, nuts that are ground too finely may be unusable. It can be difficult for a beginner to know when the almonds have reached this stage, so it is a good idea for cooks to grind them very slowly the first few times. That way, they can clearly see when the nuts become oily or the area surrounding the almonds becomes greasy. It is a good idea to stop grinding nuts whenever this occurs so that the finished product does not become a fine powder rather than ground nuts.
Blanched almonds are those that have had the skin removed, and this is usually noted on the product's label. Some people prefer to use blanched almonds in a food processor because they can be easier to grind. Others may prefer the taste of unblanched almonds. It can be a good idea for cooks who have never made ground almonds to try both types to see which one they prefer.
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