First, let’s talk about the difference between almond flour and almond meal. While almond flour is made from shelled (blanched) almonds, almond meal is made from unshelled almonds and is coarser than almond flour. Both variants are excellent gluten-free alternatives to traditional flours and can be used interchangeably, for example, in baking unleavened bread and in cookie doughs. But for baking, for example, cakes that require a finer texture and where an almond aroma is undesirable, it is better to use almond flour.
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Advantages of almond flour
Almond flour is a popular and healthier alternative to wheat flour as it is gluten-free, suitable for people suffering from celiac disease (gluten intolerance) and contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants beneficial to our health compared to conventional flour. For example, manganese helps to clot the blood and thus heal wounds from injuries faster. It is also rich in magnesium, which supports carbohydrate and cholesterol metabolism, reducing the risk of heart disease.
The low glycemic index of almond flour helps to lower blood sugar and thus helps with diabetes. The high probiotic fibre content leads to healthier and more efficient digestion. Thanks to vitamin E, it helps reduce the likelihood of developing cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Other benefits are mainly dietary, almond flour is suitable for baking with less sugar, for example on a keto diet.
How to make almond flour at home?
It’s very simple! All you need are almonds, a blender and just five minutes of time. If you buy unpeeled almonds, you need to blanch them, peel them and let them dry on a towel. Place the almonds in the blender and blend until a powdery, flour-like texture forms. While blending, make sure you blend all the almonds evenly (especially if you have a weaker blender), or work with fewer nuts.
Be careful not to get almond butter. If you have a powerful blender, blend on the highest speed possible for 5-10 seconds, stop, shake the container and shake off any sediment from the sides. Repeat this process approximately every 10-15 seconds. When the almond flour is ready, transfer it to a jar with a lid, this way you can store it for up to a month in the pantry or up to 3 months in the fridge. For an even finer result, the flour can be sifted.
Recipes for gluten-free baking with almond flour
Almond flour brownies
This recipe requires only seven ingredients, one bowl and 55 minutes of time, of which only 15 minutes is prep time. We will need:
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons of cocoa
- ½ cup melted and cooled coconut oil
- 1 ½ cups maple syrup (at room temperature)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (any nuts can be used)
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C, and spread baking paper on a deeper baking tray
- Mix the almond flour and cocoa powder in a bowl
- Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until all the ingredients are combined
- Add half of the chopped nuts (the rest will be for garnish)
- Spread the batter on the baking sheet
- Sprinkle with the rest of the nuts
- Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, test the dough here is done with a skewer – you want it to be clean or with just a few lumps
- Remove the brownies from the oven and allow to cool
Zucchini almond flour bread
Not only is this bread gluten-free, it’s even dairy-free, and it’s moist and delicious without lengthy fermentation. You’ll need two bowls, a bread tin or deer loin, and just 20 minutes to prepare, then baking takes 1 hour. We will need:
- 1 ½ cups coarsely grated zucchini (255 g)
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C, grease and line a bread tin (baking paper can also be used)
- Use a tea towel to wring out the excess water from the grated courgettes
- Mix the almond flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl
- In a second bowl, mix the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla extract
- Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
- Add the courgettes
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin
- Bake for 55-60 minutes, a skewer should come out clean
- Allow to cool before serving
Almond flour fritters
These fluffy pancakes will make your whole family jump out of bed with excitement! They contain no refined sugar, only bananas as a sweetener, for a keto option use sweetener erythritol for example. For this recipe you will need a blender, 30 minutes of time and these ingredients:
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup almond milk
- ¼ cup oil (sunflower, canola)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups almond flour (or flour)
- for garnish: maple syrup and seasonal fruit
- Using a mixer, mix together: eggs, almond milk, oil, vanilla extract, banana, baking powder, salt, almond flour. Blend until everything is completely combined into a smooth texture.
- Heat a non-stick pancake pan with a small amount of oil. Using a ladle, form pancakes and bake for about 1-2 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface, flip the pancakes and bake for another 2 minutes or until golden brown.
- Repeat the process until you run out of batter
- Decorate with fruit and drizzle with maple syrup