If you’ve been on a hunt for homemade healthy treats, chances are you’ve come across almond flour recipes quite a few times.
Have you ever tried any of those recipes? If yes, then you’ve probably noticed that almond flour recipes yield tender and fluffy baked goods that easily rival conventional ones.
But what exactly is almond flour? Can you use it just like you would use regular wheat flour? And, if you’re not familiar with almond flour recipes, what can you make using almond flour?
I’ll cover all these questions in this article. And I’ll share my favorite almond flour recipes. Plus, you’ll discover why it’s not a good idea to overdo almond flour.
What is almond flour?
It’s not a type of milled flour: almond flour simply consists of almonds that have been finely ground into a powder.
The almonds are usually blanched first and the skins removed. This is why almond flour is typically very soft and fine with a uniformly bright color.
Almond flour vs. Almond meal – can you use them interchangeably in almond flour recipes?
It depends on what kind of recipe we’re talking about.
You see, almond meal is a coarser version of almond flour and usually still contains the almonds’ skins. This makes the end product denser.
Since almond meal is heavier, you’ll want to use it in recipes that call for less than 1/2 cup of almond flour.
For instance, almond meal works better when:
- Breading meat
- Making dense cakes (such as fruit cake)
- Preparing some pie crusts and cookie recipes
On the other hand, since almond flour is very light, it gives a yummy texture to:
- Airy cookies
- Coffee cakes
- Chewy cookies
Note: Almond flour recipes that call for quite a large amount of wet ingredients may require adding in a starch or coconut flour.
Making your own almond flour
I don’t buy almond flour because:
i. The fats in the flour will probably be oxidized by the time I get the bag. Who knows how long it’s been sitting on the shelves at the grocery store?
You see, the hard-outer shell and skin of the almond protect its delicate fats and vitamin E from heat, light, and oxygen. Stripping the almond of its protective coating and grounding it into flour makes these nutrients more vulnerable to oxidative damage.
ii. It’s SO easy to make. And you can easily make some almond flour only when you feel like trying almond flour recipes.
iii. Almond flour recipes typically call for a large amount of flour. Since almond flour is very expensive here, these recipes aren’t very budget-friendly.
So, before you go out and buy almond flour, why not check out the video below next time you feel like trying almond flour recipes?
Almonds can be part of a healthy diet…
Almonds often get a bad rap because people still believe that eating fat ‘makes you fat!’
But the truth is that almonds won’t make you gain weight unless:
• You’re intolerant or allergic to almonds.
• You have an autoimmune disease and almonds are one of the foods that trigger your immune system.
• You’re eating ‘shovels’ of almonds on a regular basis (that’s quite easy to do considering that almond flour recipes call for a lot of almonds).
So, what makes almonds healthy?
Well, let’s see what’s in 1 cup (143g) of whole almonds:
• Calories: 828kcal
• Fat: 71.40g (including 17.63g and 45.118g of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats respectively)
• Carbohydrate: 30.82g
• Protein: 30.24g*
• Fiber: 17.9g
• Potassium: 1,048mg
• Calcium: 385mg
• Iron: 5.31mg
• Zinc: 4.46mg
• Vitamin E: 36.65mg
• Riboflavin: 1.627mg
• Niacin: 5.174mg
• Folate: 63µg
*Note: Some people will tell you that almonds are rich in protein. But what they fail to consider is that the protein in almonds (and all plants) is not easy to digest. Hence, the body won’t be able to use all of that protein.
How about the oxalates and phytates in almonds?
Yes, almonds are high in oxalates and phytates. (Oxalates and phytates are anti-nutrients found in nuts, seeds, grains, and many veggies.)
And yes, these anti-nutrients can bind with minerals thus making it harder for the body to use these minerals.
However, these are concentrated in the almond’s skin which is typically removed before grounding the almonds into flour.
What if you make your own flour?
You could soak your almonds overnight and then remove the skin. This way you’ll get rid of some of the oxalates and phytates.
And what about those people who say that almond flour can make you overeat?
Some say that almond flour recipes can skew perception about quantity.
But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I mean, you barely need to chew almond flour. And any kind of pre-chewed food (be it other types of flours or smoothies) will definitely skew the body’s ability to assess how many calories you are ingesting.
Moreover, like most baked goods, almond flour recipes are delicious. And when something tastes good, your body will produce more dopamine. In some people, this can translate in wanting to eat more.
What you can do about it: Keep almond recipes as treats to enjoy when you are not ravenous. And be present whenever you’re eating (i.e. just eat; don’t watch TV, listen to music, read, or work while eating).
But you still don’t want to go crazy with almond flour recipes
The reason is simple: almond flour is very rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
Eating one or two almond flour cookies, once in a while, won’t hurt (unless you can’t tolerate almonds). But if you overdo PUFAs, this could increase inflammation in your body.
Final thoughts before I give a snapshot of my favorite almond flour recipes: almonds (about 7) make great snacks but almond flour recipes should be kept as treats to be consumed occasionally.
A. Bread, Naan, Rolls, And Buns
1. Banana Bread
Almond flour recipes that feature mashed bananas, lemon juice, and chocolate chips have got to be the best! Don’t you think?
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