RECIPE: Amlou (Sweet Moroccan Spread)

People & Culture

Traditional Moroccan Amlou

Found on breakfast tables in Morocco, Amlou is a sweet and delicious spread made of almonds, honey, and argan oil.

Endemic to Morocco, the argan tree produces oil-rich kernels which are extracted to produce the oil. By now we’ve all heard of the benefits of argan oil for our hair and skin, but it’s said that daily consumption of culinary argan oil, which contains 80% of unsaturated fatty acids, can aid with prevention of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and obesity. Moroccans use the oil in salads, couscous, etc. – all in moderation, of course.

Photographing Goats Eating from an Argan Tree in Essaouira, Morocco
Photographing goats eating from an argan tree in Essaouira

Considered an aphrodisiac, Amlou is commonly given as a gift to newlyweds, but this nutritious spread is certainly for everyone. Similar to the consistency of peanut butter, Amlou can be spread on pancakes, various breads, and pastries. Depending on your desired consistency, it also works well as a dip.

With so many uses, Amlou is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. A healthier alternative to jams, jellies, or hazelnut spreads, it can be enjoyed at snack time too… preferably with a glass of Moroccan mint tea!

Djemaa El-Fna Square in Marrakesh, Morocco
Djemaa El-Fna Square in Marrakesh

Servings: Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole, unpeeled almonds
  • 2/3 cup argan oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Place the almonds on a lined cookie sheet and toast them for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 325ºF, making sure not to burn them. Let cool.
  2. In a food processor, grind the toasted almonds until they become the consistency of paste, frequently ensuring that all bits and pieces are grinded and not stuck to the sides of the processor.
  3. Transfer the almond paste to a medium bowl and slowly stir in the argan oil, pouring a spoonful at a time, until thoroughly smooth.
  4. Gradually add the honey to the mixture and stir.
  5. Season with salt.
  6. Pour the mixture into an airtight jar and keep refrigerated, or store in a cool, dark cupboard for up to 2 months. Stir before using.

Notes:

  • For a thinner texture, add a little more argan oil until you reach desired consistency.
  • For more sweetness, add a bit of granulated sugar, not honey, so as to not further thicken your desired consistency.
  • If you cannot find culinary argan oil, you can substitute with olive oil

Optional:
Add a dash of cinnamon to the mixture.