Put them into a saucepan with plenty of cold water, and heat it slowly; when it is just scalding, turn the almonds into a basin, peel, and throw them into cold water as they are done: dry them well in a soft cloth before they are used. If the water be too hot, it will turn them yellow.
Almonds are more easily pounded, and less liable to become oily, if dried a little in a very gentle degree of heat after they are blanched; left for example, in a warm room for two or three days, lightly spread on a large dish or tin. They should be sprinkled during the beating with a few drops of cold water, or white of egg, or lemon-juice, and pounded to a smooth paste: this is more easily done, we believe, when they are first roughly chopped, but we prefer to have them thrown at once into the mortar.
(The quickest and easiest way.) Chop them a little on a large and very clean trencher, then with a paste-roller (rolling-pin), which ought to be thicker in the middle than at the ends, roll them well until no small bits are perceptible amongst them. We have found this method answer admirably; but as some of the oil is expressed from the almonds by it, and absorbed by the board, we would recommend a marble slab for them in preference, when it is at hand; and should they be intended for a sweet dish, that some pounded sugar should be strewed under them. When a board or strong trencher is used, it should be rather higher in the middle than at the sides.
Blanch, dry, and chop them rather coarsely; pour a little prepared cochineal into the hands, and roll the almonds between them until they are equally coloured; then spread them on a sheet of paper, and place them in a very gentle degree of heat to dry. Use spinach-juice (see page 233) to colour them green, and a strong infusion of saffron to give them a yellow tint. They have a pretty effect when strewed over the icing of tarts or cakes, especially the rose-coloured ones, which should be rather pale.
Chop very fine together eight ounces of almonds, blanched, and dried, six of candied orange-rind, or of orange and lemon-rind mixed, and one ounce of citron; then add to them two ounces of flour, three quarters of a pound of sugar, a small teaspoonful of mace and cinnamon mixed, and the whites of three large eggs; roll the mixture into balls about the size of a large marble, and bake them on wafer-paper twenty minutes in a moderate oven: they should be quite crisp, but not deeply coloured.
Almonds, 8 ozs.; candied orange-rind, 6 ozs.; citron, 1 oz.; flour, 2 ozs.; sugar, 3/4 lb.; mace and cinnamon mixed, 1 teaspoonful; whites of eggs, 3 large: baked, moderate oven, 20 minutes.
When the flavour is not disliked, it will be found an improvement to substitute an ounce of bitter almonds for one of the sweet; and we prefer the whole of the almonds and candied peel also cut into spikes instead of being chopped: the ingredients must then be made into a lighter paste, and placed in small heaps on the paper.
Blanch, and then chop as fine as possible, two ounces of bitter almonds, and add them to half a pound of flour, half a pound of sifted sugar, and two ounces of butter, previously well mixed together. Whisk the whites of a couple of eggs to a strong froth, beat them lightly to the other ingredients, drop the cakes on a buttered tin, or copper oven-leaf, and bake them rather slowly from ten to twelve minutes: they should be very small. Should the proportion of bitter almonds be considered unhealthful, use half as many, and substitute sweet. ones for the remainder.
Flour, 1/2 lb.; sugar, 1/2 lb.; butter, 2 ozs.; bitter almonds, 2 ozs.; whites of eggs, 2: slow oven, 10 to 12 minutes.
Blanch, dry, and pound to the finest possible paste, eight ounces of fresh Jordan almonds, and one ounce of bitter; moisten them with a few drops of cold water or white of egg, to prevent their oiling; then mix with them very gradually twelve fresh eggs which have been whisked until they are exceedingly light; throw in by degrees one pound of fine, dry, sifted sugar, and keep the mixture light by constant beating, with a large wooden spoon, as the separate ingredients are added. Mix in by degrees three quarters of a pound of dried and sifted flour of the best quality; then pour gently from the sediment a pound of butter which has been just melted, but not allowed to become hot, and beat it very gradually, but very thoroughly, into the cake, letting one portion entirely disappear before another is thrown in: add the rasped or finely-grated rinds of two sound fresh lemons, fill a thickly-buttered mould rather more than half full with the mixture, and bake the cake from an hour and a half to two hours in a well-heated oven.
Lay paper over the top when it is sufficiently coloured, and guard carefully against it being burned.
Sweet almonds, 4 lb.; bitter almonds, 1 oz.; eggs, 12; sugar, 1 lb., flour, 3/4 lb.; butter, 1 lb.; rinds lemons, 2: 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Three quarters of a pound of almonds may be mixed with this cake when so large a portion of them is liked, but an additional ounce or two of sugar, and one egg or more, will then be required.