A few drops of almond extract in your baking dish can make wonders. It has this unique aroma that perfectly complements any fruity desserts like cakes, muffins, or pies. The good thing about it is that you only need small drops to get that special boost for your desserts.
The Best Substitutes for Almond Extract are vanilla extract, cinnamon, orange zest, almond liqueur or make your own almond extract.
Without further ado, let’s learn more about these substitutes and their usage.
Almond Extract Substitutes
1. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract has always been a staple in the kitchen when it comes to baked dishes. It is also a safe substitute especially for individuals who are allergic to any type of nuts.
Unlike almond extract, vanilla extract only offers little to no flavor and mostly produces just a sweet-smelling aroma. If the almond extract is strong for your liking, the vanilla extract should be your top choice.
The best part? It’s available in most baked goods stores or grocery markets. For the substitution, use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract over 3 drops of almond extract.
Cinnamon doesn’t resemble almond in any way. However, you’re looking for an aromatic slightly flavored spice for your baked dishes, look no further than cinnamon.
Whether in bread or pastries, you can never go wrong with good old cinnamon. It reminds me of the warmth perfect for using during autumn and wintertime.
I recommend using this on chocolate or nut-based pastries instead of fruit ones. It is perfect for non-fruity desserts as it does not compete with the aroma of the fruit when mixed together. For the substitution, only use half a teaspoon of cinnamon over 2 drops of almond extract.
3. Orange Zest
The easiest substitution by far is using any citrus zest like orange for example. It works for cakes, cupcakes, muffins, pies, and especially for the icing filling. The orange zest provides that fruity taste and citrusy aroma perfect for fruit-based desserts and pastries.
Wash the fruit well and dry it with a towel. Then, use a cheese grater for the best results. A teaspoon of orange zest can substitute 2-3 drops of almond extract for every baked dish.
If you don’t like the zest, just squeeze the orange instead and add some of the juice for about 1-2 teaspoons. This will provide the same citrusy flavor and aroma that you’re aiming for.
4. Almond Liqueur
If you can’t compromise the goodness of almonds, opt for the almond liqueur. Visit your nearest grocery store if they have any or order online to check other brands.
Almond liqueur has the same qualities as almond extract since it also has alcohol but the alcohol evaporates once it’s being cooked, making it safer to consume for children.
The advantage of using this substitute is using the same ratio of 1:1. Follow the same recipe that you use for baked dishes that calls for almond extract.
The same as using almond extract, also be careful to not add too much liqueur to prevent a bitter and powerful aroma to your baking dish.
5. Make Your Own Almond Extract
If you have the luxury to spend some time making your own almond extract, why not? Whether you’re just a foodie like me or an experienced chef, nothing beats the joy and rewarding feeling to create something from scratch on your own.
Now is the time to do so by saving yourself a good batch of almond extract. Don’t worry if it’s your first time making this. The recipe is easy to make. In fact, you only need two ingredients to complete this recipe. Just follow the guide below.
- 2 cups of vodka
- 70 grams of raw peeled almonds
- Take a big pot and fill it up with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat.
- Wash the almonds carefully and transfer to an aluminum bowl. Set aside.
- Check your water, once it’s boiling hot, turn off the heat and take out the water.
- Pour the water into the aluminum bowl where the almonds are. Let the hot water sit onto the almonds for about 2 minutes.
- Drain the hot water and wash the almonds with cold water. You will start noticing by now that the skin of the almonds starts to peel away.
- Peel the almonds and make sure that no traces of skin are left. Discard the peeled skin.
- Then, chop the peeled almonds roughly and set them aside.
- Prepare at least 2 airtight jars where you can store your homemade almond extract. Make sure it’s been washed and sterilized.
- Pour 35 grams of chopped almonds into each jar.
- Then, add a cup of vodka to each jar covering the chopped almonds.
- Cover the jar tightly and make sure to give it a shake every day. Your almond extract should be ready to use after 2 months.
There you have it! Now you know how to prepare almond extract at home. Though it’s easy to prepare, the waiting time is quite lengthy, so patience is very important.
Make sure to store it in a cool dry area and label the jars to monitor the expiry date. Enjoy your homemade almond extract while it lasts.
I consider almond extract as one of my magic potions in the kitchen. It has its unique offering and character that can help any baked dish to stand out and have a kick to it. Normally, I would use vanilla extract. However, I prefer almond extract when I want to make a change.
When using the substitutes mentioned above, do not expect that they will have the same effect except with almond liqueur and homemade almond extract.
Vanilla extract, cinnamon, and orange zest give a different note to baked dishes and have their own strengths. Expect that it will have a huge difference when doing the substitution. Still, what matters is to provide aroma and a hint of extra flavor to your favorite desserts.
It wouldn’t hurt to venture out of the ordinary when your resources are somewhat limited. In the kitchen, the possibilities are endless.