All flour is created equal, right? Wrong. If you’ve been using all-purpose flour simply because you are nervous to try something new, you’ve been missing out. Almond flour and almond meal are amazing alternatives for those of us who cannot (or don’t want to) use multi-purpose wheat flour, but aren’t willing to sacrifice our favorite carb-tastic dishes. Whether you are dealing with intolerance to gluten or you are just trying to adopt a healthier, more nutrient-rich diet, substituting wheat flour with other varieties made from nuts is a great place to start. As Women’s Health reports, according to registered dietician Roberta Larson Duyff, R.D., “not only do the different types of flour give you a chance to experiment with textures and flavors when cooking and baking, but they’re also another way to increase the nutritional variety in your diet.” And there is no denying that nuts, especially almonds, have a TON of nutritional benefits, including heart-health fats, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, potassium and more.
So what exactly is almond flour? Put simply, it’s flour made from almonds. Duh. Typically almond flour has a finely ground texture (similar to standard flour), which is achieved by taking blanched almonds without the skin and then grinding them up using a blender, coffee grinder or food processor. Of course you can also buy almond flour at almost any supermarket or specialty food store, but it’s pretty easy to make at home as well. And while the terms are often used interchangeably, almond flour and almond meal are not the same. Almond meal has a coarser texture and you’ll usually see little specks of almond skin in the mix. Now let’s get to the good stuff. Here are 8 almond flour recipes that will give your baked goods a major dose of nutty flavor and your diet major nutritional boost.
1. Almond Tuiles These cookies sound as fancy as they look, but don’t be intimidated by the name. These treats are actually pretty easy to make, and the prep work is simple and quick. All you really need is a little patience to get the thin cookies to be molded into the curled shape that we know and love. The flavor from the almond flour is delicious but not overpowering, and these crispy cookies go perfectly with fruit sorbet when you are ready to dig in.
2. Rosemary Sesame Paleo Crackers If crackers are a go-to snack item in your routine, then these Paleo crackers are going to change your life. They are crunchy, nutty, fully of flavor and completely gluten-free thanks to the almond flour. The sesame seeds kick the texture up a notch and the rosemary and thyme add so much flavor you won’t even need to dip these in your favorite topping, (though we’ve never met a hummus we didn’t like.)
3. Almond Flour Blondies If your happy place involves you eating ooey, gooey, chewy, chocolatey blondies, then you must try this recipe immediately. These blondies are gluten-free, dairy-free (you can swap butter for coconut oil), easy to make and incredibly tasty. And the best part is that the use of almond flour adds protein, vitamins, nutrients and health fats, so you won’t feel bad about the fact that you can’t stop eating them.
4. Toasted-Almond Poundcake With Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote This pound cake combines almond flour with cake flour, so you get a combination of textures and flavors, with a finished product that tastes and looks like a typical pound cake (light, buttery, delicious) but with the added nutritional perks of almond flour. Plus the strawberry rhubarb compote is so insanely delicious you’ll want to eat it with a spoon (and on top of your cake).
5. Double Chocolate Cookies with Chocolate Chunks We’re pretty sure that any recipe that involves the words “double chocolate” will be good, how could it not be? And just as we suspected, this recipe does not disappoint. They are gluten-free and grain-free, which is important if you are trying to stick to a Paleo or gluten-free diet, but the real reason to eat these is to indulge in a rich, chocolatey piece of heaven. They are more like fudge brownies in cookie form, and the massive quantity of chocolate chunks doesn’t hurt either.
6. Gluten-Free Honey-Nuts-n-Oats Pancakes Breakfast and carbs just go together, and when we’re trying to avoid gluten it can be a real struggle to miss out on a favorite breakfast treat—pancakes. But this recipe, which uses almond flour, makes pancakes that are just as indulgent as your typical pancakes, but way better for you. When you top them off with almonds and syrup you’ll be in breakfast heaven and you won’t even notice they are gluten-free.
7. Paleo Brownies Tell us one dessert that is as indulgent and satisfying as a fudge-like brownie. Chocolate lovers listen up: you do not need gluten to get moist, rich, chocolatey brownies. This Paleo recipe uses almond flour and a whole lot of chocolate to get the fudge-y consistency just right.
8. Chocolate Cake Is it really possible to make chocolate cake better? Yes, yes it is. Simply swap all-purpose flour for almond flour, use agave nectar to add a little sweetness to the unsweetened cocoa, and smother the entire cake in a decadent marshmallow frosting. The result is a cake that looks special, tastes amazing, and also happens to be gluten-free.
Photo 1 courtesy of Food Network.com