Almond Flour: An In-Depth Look at this Gluten Free Nut Flour
If you follow a gluten free diet, you may already be familiar with gluten free flours. Gluten free flour can be made from a variety of things including nuts like almonds. Though you may not be able to enjoy this tasty flour alternative if you have a nut allergy, it is one of the most nutritious and versatile options available to gluten free dieters.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at almond flour including what it is, the health benefits, and how to bake with it. You’ll also receive three tasty recipes to try at home!
What is Almond Flour?
Quite simply, almond flour is made of finely ground almonds. The process through which almond flour is made involves blanching the whole almonds in boiling water to remove the skin, then grinding the blanched almonds and sifting them into a fine-grain flour. Almond flour is always made from blanched almonds while almond meal is made from grinding almonds that still have the skins. Though the names are sometimes used interchangeably, they are actually different products. Almond meal has a much coarser texture which makes a difference, depending what recipe you’re using it for.
What Are the Health Benefits?
Almonds are often included in the category of superfoods because they are rich in a wide variety of nutrients. An ounce of almonds contains about 129 calories with roughly 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. It is important to note that while almonds are high in fat, 9 out of the 14 grams are healthy monounsaturated fats. Almonds are also rich in vitamin E, manganese, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus.
As an alternative to wheat flour, almond flour is low in carbs and high in healthy fats and fiber. Wheat flour is high in carbs which can cause your blood sugar to spike, followed by a rapid drop that can leave you feeling hungry, tired, and craving more high-carb foods. Almonds are a low-glycemic food which means that they are more slowly digested by the body and have a lesser impact on blood sugar levels.
In addition to being low in carbs and loaded with nutrients, almonds provide a variety of other benefits. Here is a quick list of some of those benefits:
- The high monounsaturated fat content of almonds is beneficial for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, and supporting healthy blood flow – all of these contribute to improved cardiovascular health.
- Consuming almonds has been linked to reduced risk of colon cancer, likely due to its rich content of healthy fats which offer anti-cancer benefits.
- Eating almonds has been shown to reduce both blood sugar and insulin levels in people with diabetes – it has also been correlated with an increase in antioxidant levels following an almond-based meal versus rice- or potato-based meals.
- Including almonds in a healthy diet has been shown to increase weight loss, particularly from fat, in comparison to just eating complex carbohydrates.
- The combination of macronutrients, micronutrients, and healthy fats in almond flour is a natural energy booster – specific nutrients that play a role include riboflavin, copper, and manganese.
As you can see, almond flour is a highly nutritious alternative to wheat flour. If you’re wondering how to incorporate almond flour into your gluten free diet, keep reading to receive some helpful tips for baking with almond flour.
Tips for Gluten Free Baking with Almond Flour
When baking with almond flour, you should pay attention to the difference between almond flour and almond meal and use whatever the recipe calls for. You should also be careful to make sure that the almond flour you are purchasing is pure – the only ingredient should be almonds.
Here are some simple tips for gluten free baking with almond flour:
- Store almond flour in the fridge or freezer when you’re not using it to keep it fresh – it has a high level of oil which can cause it to go rancid faster than other flours.
- When substituting almond flour for wheat flour, know that your batter will look thicker – resist the urge to thin it with liquid or it won’t work.
- Always scoop the almond flour from the bag and level it with a knife – don’t pack it into the measuring cup or you’ll end up using too much.
- When your baked goods come out of the oven, they will be very soft – let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning them out.
- Almond flour is a great substitute for breadcrumbs in gluten free baking and in savory recipes.
- Make sure all of your ingredients are brought to room temperature before using them to avoid a lumpy batter – this includes butter, eggs, cream, and milk.
- Grease your pans very well to avoid sticking – for cakes, you might even line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to ensure that it turns out well.
- Remember that baking times are a guide – especially when substituting almond flour, your recipe may need more or less time, so check it as needed.
Now that you understand the benefits of almond flour and have learned how to use it, you may be anxious to try it for yourself. Before moving on to some delicious almond flour recipes, however, we’d like to provide you with a recipe to make your own almond flour at home:
Easy Homemade Almond Flour
- 1 pound whole raw almonds, unsalted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil then add the almonds.
- Boil the almonds for 1 minute then immediately drain them and run cold water over them.
- Let the almonds rest in the colander until cool enough to handle.
- Pinch the almonds out of their skins by hand and spread the almonds on a baking sheet.
- Roast until they are very dry, between 10 and 15 minutes – make sure they don’t brown much.
- Turn off the oven and let the almonds dry completely.
- Transfer the almonds to a food processor and blend into a fine powder using the pulse button.
- Store the almond flour in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Whether you choose to make your own almond flour at home or buy it at the store, you’re now ready to try using it in gluten free recipes! Keep reading to receive some tasty gluten free recipes featuring this delicious nut flour.
3 Delicious Almond Flour Recipes
Almond flour is one of the most versatile gluten free flours to cook with and to prove it to you, we’ve created three delicious almond flour recipes:
1. Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins
- 2 cups almond flour
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
- Combine the almond flour sugar, and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, almond milk, lemon juice, and vanilla.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined then fold in the blueberries.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes then turn them out to cool completely.
2. Almond Spice Cookies
Servings: About 2 dozen
- 6 tablespoons warm water
- 2 tablespoons ground chia seed
- 2 ½ cups almond flour
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ½ tablespoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup coconut oil, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
- Combine the water and chia seeds in a small bowl – stir well then set aside.
- Whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
- Beat the coconut oil and sugar together on medium speed until well combined.
- Stir in the chia seed mixture until well incorporated then reduce the speed to low and beat in the dry ingredients.
- Chill the dough for 30 minutes then scoop it and roll into 1 ½-inch balls.
- Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart.
- Flatten the balls slightly with a fork then bake for 11 to 13 minutes until just browned on the edges.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
3. Easy Almond Flour Bread
- 2 cups almond flour
- ¼ cup psyllium husk powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- ½ cup water
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a bread pan with parchment.
- Whisk together the almond flour, psyllium husk powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
- Stir in the eggs, butter, apple cider vinegar, and rosemary.
- Add the warm water and stir to create a wet dough.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely in the pan before turning out to slice.
Now that you know all you need to know about almond flour, you’re ready to try using it for yourself! Give one of the three tasty recipes above a try or put our simple tips for gluten free baking to use in making your own favorite recipe.