When it comes to nut-based ingredients, almond flour is one of the most straightforward. Just as you might infer from the name, it’s a flour-like substance made by grinding blanched almonds (i.e. almonds without skins) into a fine powder. But it may not be quite so easy to intuit what you can do with it. To make the most of this rich and delicious—and gluten-free—wheat flour alternative, follow our guide to almond flour.
A Heart-Healthy Option
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, almond flour is not only gluten-free and low-carb, but also has more nutrients than wheat flour. While it’s also higher in fat and calories, they’re mostly monounsaturated fats (or “healthy fats”), and they’re packed with beneficial fatty acids too; in fact, eating tree nuts (including almonds) has been associated with lowering the risk of heart disease. And as more and more consumers opt for eating a gluten-free, low-carb, keto, or paleo diet—either by necessity or choice—the increasing demand for almond flour is predicted to continue.According to the
How to Make Almond Flour
While you can buy it off the shelf, it’s also easy to make your own almond flour at home. Simply grind blanched almonds to the preferred consistency in a food processor, but beware—if you let it go too long, you may end up with something closer to almond butter than almond meal (which is a bit coarser than almond flour and usually made from unblanched almonds that include the skins) or fine almond flour.
How to Store Almond Flour
Keep in mind that almonds have a high fat content and retain moisture, even in flour form. Avoid buying almond flour in bulk unless you plan to go through it quickly, and store it properly in a well-sealed container kept in a cool, dry place. Once opened, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
How to Use Almond Flour
Still wondering how almond flour is used? Go to any supermarket and along with the bags of almond flour itself, you’re likely to find a wide range of products made with it, such as cookies, crackers, cereals, baked goods, and even vegan meat alternatives.
The higher moisture content mentioned above means it’s not a perfect 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour in baking—and on the subject of limitations, since it is slightly grainy, making gravy with almond flour to thicken isn’t the best option either. Since it’s made from nothing but ground almonds, it does taste like almonds, which can be an advantage (in baked goods, for instance)—or can be hidden if that’s preferable in other applications.
Almond Flour Recipes
Here are some of the best ways to use almond flour at home.
If your Instagram feed has taught you anything, it’s that French macarons have soared in popularity—including a multitude of versions created by home bakers. While it may seem daunting to make your own, this recipe offers helpful tips on how to ensure they turn out beautifully. And even if they don’t end up looking perfect, this combination of airy chocolate cookie with a rich ganache center will still taste divine. Get our French Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache recipe.
Who says you can’t make waffles without gluten? Not us! This version of a weekend breakfast staple uses a combination of almond flour, rice flour, and tapioca starch to create a batter that cooks up crisp and light. The addition of mashed ripe banana and blueberries instead of sugar adds a mellow sweetness. But don’t let that stop you from topping these waffles with a dollop of whipped cream or a generous pour of luscious maple syrup, if that’s the way you like ‘em. (Almond flour pancakes are also great.) Get our Gluten-Free Banana-Blueberry Waffles recipe.
Whether you’re trying to eat less red meat or don’t eat meat at all, these vegetarian black bean burgers make for a savory and satisfying alternative. Almond flour and cooked brown rice help the patties keep their shape and add flavorful depth and earthiness. For a completely gluten-free version, opt for a store-bought GF bun or nix it altogether. Get our Black Bean Burgers recipe.
Not every flourless cake begins and ends with chocolate. What’s more, this simple recipe calls for just five ingredients: almond flour, egg whites, honey, salt, and sliced almonds. Impress your friends with this incredibly easy, light, and rich cake (or keep it for yourself and eat a slice topped with Greek yogurt for breakfast). Get this Flourless Almond Honey Cake recipe.
There’s no need for wheat flour when you can use almond flour, rice flour, and tapioca starch to create a gluten-free muffin. Yogurt adds body and richness to the batter while keeping it from becoming gummy, and you can easily substitute other types of nuts and dried or fresh fruit for the pecans and cranberries. Get our Gluten-Free Cranberry Pecan Muffins recipe.
While gluten-free crackers may be easy to find, they’re not inexpensive. Try making your own with almond flour instead. This recipe from King Arthur, which makes its own brand of almond flour, calls for just four ingredients and leaves room for creativity, whether you choose to add spices, herbs, seeds, cheese, or cinnamon-sugar. Get the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Crackers recipe.
This low-carb, gluten-free pie crust bakes up light and flaky, so it’s no wonder Bob’s Red Mill, which makes its own brand of almond flour, has dubbed it “perfect”. Made with just four ingredients—almond flour, coconut oil, an egg, and salt—you could say it’s as easy as pie. Get the Perfect Paleo Pie Crust recipe.
See how almond flour stacks up to other alternatives (like coconut flour) in our Guide to Gluten-Free Flour. And if you need more gluten-free options, learn The Difference Between Gluten-Free and Gluten-Removed Beer, see How to Cook Gluten-Free Pasta so It Doesn’t Suck, and get the low-down on The Best Gluten-Free Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Beginners.
Related Video: How to Avoid Dense Gluten-Free Batter When Baking
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