Amlou – sometimes spelled amalou – is a delicious Moroccan dip made from toasted almonds, argan oil, and honey. Argan oil is native to Morocco and might be found in specialty food shops or online. Be sure to buy argan oil for culinary and not cosmetic use.
Amlou is very easy to make and usually served for breakfast or tea time. A stone mill is a traditional method for crushing the almonds to a silky smooth paste-like consistency, but I find that a meat grinder or food processor both work quite well. If using a food processor, be aware that the appearance and texture of the amlou won't be the same as shown here unless you manage to keep the almonds in constant contact with the blade.
For a step-by-step photo tutorial, see How to Make Amlou.
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces or 200 gram) whole almonds (with skin)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup (180 milliliters) argan oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons warm honey (or to taste)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (granulated)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat your oven to 375 F (190 C). Wash the almonds if they feel gritty (they usually are in Morocco) and drain.
Spread the almonds on a baking pan and roast for about 15 minutes, longer if necessary, until the almonds are crunchy and darkened but not burnt.
Allow the almonds to cool a bit and then pass them through a meat grinder several times to make a smooth, oily-looking paste. Or, grind the toasted almonds to a paste in a food processor on high speed.
Be sure to continue processing until the almonds grind to a glistening, the smooth mass that can almost be poured. This can take several minutes. (When using the food processor, I literally pick up the machine and shake it while it's running in order to keep the almonds from sticking to the sides of the bowl as the paste forms. The almonds must maintain contact with the blades to yield the desirable smooth, shiny paste.)
Next, gradually blend the argan oil into the almond paste, a spoonful at a time or in a very slow trickle. You can do this by hand stirring vigorously, or with the food processor on the lowest speed, which is my preference. Use only as much argan oil as you need to to make the amlou as thick or thin as you like. (Note that the suggested amount of oil in the recipe yields amlou with a traditionally thin consistency. Adjust the amount of oil to your own preference.)
Next, gradually add the warm honey, sugar, and salt in the same manner. Taste the amlou and adjust the sweetness if desired.
Serve amlou on a plate or shallow dish with bread for dipping.
Amlou will keep for two months in cool, dark cupboard. Store amlou tightly covered in a jar and shake or stir before serving.