So, I'm looking at some recipes using Almond Paste, and I'm not sure which would be better, making my own or buying it.
How about you guys? What do you do for your almond paste? Do you go ALL hand-made and do it yourself, or do you purchase already made?
The main reason I ask is because the storefront I have my chocolates in is VERY health conscious. There was an issue a couple months back when they realized the corn syrup I was using had high fructose corn syrup in it, and they forced me to take all the candies and chocolates with it off the shelved. I lost over $500 in product from that bullcrap, and I don't want to deal with it again. Every container of almond paste I find online with ingredients listed lists a "synthetic bitter almond oil", and I don't want that on my ingredient lists if it's worth it to make my own...
I'm all for making ingredients when possible, but I have tried to make almond paste, and I can never get it as smooth as the stuff made with industrial equipment.
Maybe someone out there has an answer to this challenge?
Failing that, there are lots of other things to make which don't use almond paste. I've resigned myself to that.
With regard to the high fructose corn syrup issue, just switch to honey as a sweetener. I believe you can get unscented honey, and it has roughly the same glucose/fructose ratio as HFCS, and the best part is it's all natural.
I could be wrong, but from what I've read, HFSC and Honey are both synthesized using enzymes. Bees synthesize invertase naturally while making honey to convert some of the glucose to fructose, and "big" industry uses other enzymes such as Glucose isomerase, which produced through fermentation with microorganisms. A variety of bacteria cultures are used to create Glucose isomerase.
Regardless, fructose is a sweetener that exists naturally. The fact that you use a little more fructose in your chocolates to preserve the shelf life isn't a big deal. Ask your client if they are going to stop eating fruit and honey too....
Many also contain potassium sorbate as a preservative. I know that Mandelin doesn't use synthetic flavoring, and they will make it custom for you without the preservative. I don't remember what the minimum quantity is for a custom batch without preservative. It may be way more than you want. They have a number of styles of paste and almond products. I like their blanched sliced almonds. It might be worth checking out.