Almond extract lends a nutty, sweet flavor to baked goods, but it can be difficult to find in some markets. When baking, extracts are one of the easiest substitutions to make. Almond extract has a very strong flavor, and bitter almond extract is even more potent. When making substitutions, a replacement may require a different amount than what the recipe indicates for almond extract.
Vanilla extract will add sweetness but not the nutty flavor of almonds. This is the most common substitution since vanilla extract is readily available in supermarkets. Increase the the amount of almond extract required by half that amount for the measurement of vanilla extract. For instance, if a cake calls for 1 tsp. of almond extract, use 1 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract.
Almond Candy Flavoring Oil
Almond oil creates the base of almond extract. It is much stronger than almond extract. Look for almond oil with candy-making supplies. Unlike the alcohol-based extract, the flavor of almond oil will not bake out when exposed to prolonged cooking. Use 1/8 as much almond oil as almond extract. For instance, if your recipe requires 1 tsp. of almond extract, use 1/8 tsp. of almond oil.
Those with well stocked liquor cabinets can use almond liqueur as a stand-in for almond extract in recipes. Almond liqueur is similar to extract, but it contains a higher amount of alcohol. Consequently, you must use four to eight times as much liqueur to get the same almond flavor as extract. For example, if your recipe needs 1 tsp. of almond extract, use 4 to 8 tsp. of almond liqueur.
Cooking Nut Oil
Replace up to 1/3 cup of the oil in the recipe with a nut oil for cooking such as hazelnut, walnut or almond. Smell the oil in the bottle before adding it to the recipe. Nut oils go rancid very quickly. If the oil has a vinegary odor, discard it. Do not confuse these cooking oils with the candy flavoring oils sold in tiny bottles by the ounce. Nut oils for cooking are available in 8-oz. or larger bottles in gourmet grocery stores with the other cooking oils. Any nut oil will add a nutty flavor to the baked good, but almond cooking oil is best for an almond extract replacement. This substitution is best for baked cakes or dense breads using oil instead of butter or shortening as the fat in the ingredients.
- Cook's Thesaurus: Extracts and Flavoring Oils
- The Food Channel: Is There a Good Substitute for Almond Extract?; Feb. 13, 2008
- "Cookwise;" Shirley O'Corriher; 1998
- Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images