Almond extract is a flavorful and aromatic liquid that can be used to impart the sweet and fragrant aroma of almonds to any dish. Read on to learn more about this delicious ingredient and how to utilize it at home.
History of Almond Extract
Almond extract has been cultivated for thousands of years. The exact location where almond extract originated is unclear but there is a chance that it might have first been used in the middle east.
Almonds themselves, considered a fruit, have traditional roots and associations with North Africa, Western Asia, and parts of the Mediterranean. Because almond trees need warm climates to thrive, it is difficult to pinpoint an area or a region where they first originated.
Almonds do have a strong connection with ancient Egypt. Early records show that Pharaohs in Egypt used almond oil on their bread and Cleopatra used almond milk for bathing. There is evidence that almond extract was extensively used in Italy throughout the 1500s for baking, liquors, and cakes.
The Flavor of Almond Extract
As it is made with bitter almond oil and ethyl alcohol, almond extract tastes nothing like almond. The appeal of almond extract, however, is in its subtly sweet and light fragrance which is imparted into whatever it is used in. Almond extract has a strong, pure, and sweet aroma of almonds.
Alcohol is used in almond extract so that it lasts longer. Also, because almond extract is so strong, a little goes a long way. Most recipes call for a teaspoon or less of almond extract.
Health Benefits of Almond Extract
Almonds are a good source of healthy fats that are shown to be beneficial for the heart. Pure almond extract doesn’t offer many nutritional qualities, but its unique smell can make bland foods more appealing.
Culinary Benefits of Almond Extract
Almond extract is a god-send ingredient for all dessert lovers. Almond extract can be used in any dessert as a flavor enhancer. Almond extract is used in making cakes, bakes, ice creams, frozen yogurts, cheesecakes, sweet rolls, cookies, and more; there is no limit to the amount of sweet treats that almond extract can be added to. Almond extract adds a distinct flavor to desserts and is extensively used worldwide.
Want to try baking with this great ingredient? Check out this Gluten-Free, Almond, and Blueberry cake recipe. Almond extract can also easily be substituted for vanilla extract. Try swapping almond extract in for vanilla extract in our Peach Shortcake recipe to amplify the sweet and nutty flavor of the peaches. Add some almond extract to your next batch of French toast in the morning along with some fruits and coffee for a scrumptious start to your day!
Almond extract should not be refrigerated and should be kept at room temperature away from heat and sunlight. Almond extract can easily last up to 4 years with proper storage. Look for almond extract in the baking aisle of your local grocery store.