Almond flour: What is almond flour and what are the benefits of cooking with it?
Everything you need to know about the healthy ingredient
Almond flour has become a staple ingredient in healthy baking, but what's all the fuss about this nifty ingredient and how can you use it?
You've probably spotted almond flour in quite a few recipes by now - this lovely ingredient is having a moment, and it's not hard to see why.
Almond flour is made of purely ground almonds, so it's a completely natural and unprocessed ingredient that you can use to bake your favourite cakes, thicken sauces and even use instead of breadcrumbs when frying. High in protein, as well as being low in carbohydrates and sugars, almond flour can help make your cakes and bakes a little bit healthier.
Another reason almond flour has become such a hit in the healthy baking world is because it's naturally gluten free. If you need to avoid gluten for health reasons or have opted to follow a gluten free diet, then you could consider using almond flour in your cooking and baking.
How to use almond flour
Almond flour has many different uses in the kitchen, because of its texture and flavour. You can use almond flour to thicken sauces, to coat fried foods instead of using breadcrumbs, and especially as a substitute for flour in some bakes. See our almond flour recipe ideas below for more ways to use almond flour.
What are the benefits of almond flour?
Like nuts in general, almonds are great for you when consumed in moderation. Almond flour is just ground almonds, so its benefits are the same as when you're eating whole almonds.
Almonds are cholesterol free and low in saturated fat, which makes them a great way to make your cakes and bakes a bit more virtuous. They're a source of thiamine, which helps keep your heart healthy, and they also contribute to improving brain and skin health because of their high content of antioxidants and vitamins.
What is the difference between almond flour and almond meal?
Almond flour and almond meal can get easily mixed up. Both are made from ground almonds, but while almond flour is typically made from blanched almonds - which have had the skins removed - almond meal is made from almonds that still have the skin on. Because of this, almond meal tends to be ground more finely than almond flour.
Can you use almond flour instead of all purpose flour?
Almond flour is denser than normal baking flour, which means it will behave differently. You can't just swap one for the other, so it's safer to follow recipes that have been originally created using almond flour.
Normal baking flour also contains gluten which acts as a binding agent and almond flour doesn't, so it will rely on the other ingredients in the recipe to hold everything together.
Almond flour recipes
Macaroons are a gluten free treat made with almond flour
Almond flour is very versatile and is used in many almond flour recipes to add a nutty flavour to a sponge cake, or to replace normal flour in some recipes if you want to bake a gluten-free treat.
Here are some of our favourite almond flour recipes...
Almond flour macaroons Macaroons are one of the treats that you can whip up using almond flour. In fact, these pretty little cakes usually need little more than almond flour, sugar and eggs - and patience!
Almond flour cakes and frangipane tarts
Other cake recipes use almond flour to infuse a nutty flavour into the sponge, like this raspberry and almond frangipane tart and this Michel Roux Jr.'s almond and orange cake.
Almond flour 'breadcrumbs' You can also use almond flour to replace breadcrumbs if you're making fish fingers or frying things like chicken dippers, as a completely natural alternative to gluten free flours.
Where can you buy almond flour?
Almond flour is widely available from most supermarkets, in the baking section, and online grocery shops. A bag containing 200g will cost you about £2.30.
How can you make your own almond flour?
Making your own almond flour is easy. All you need is a high powered food processor so you can grind the almonds to a flour consistency.
You'll need blanched almonds (skin removed) to make almond flour but you can use raw almonds (with skin) if you want almond meal.
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