There are two types of almond flour: blanched and unblanched. The difference between them is that blanched almond flour is made from ground-up almonds which have had their skins removed, while unblanched flour uses almonds with their skins still on. You'll notice this difference when cooking with almond flour, since the unblanched variety is denser and usually gives the dough a granular texture.
Unlike other gluten-free flours, almond flour is rich in protein and healthy fats, which means its price is higher than other flours, for example, coconut.
Almonds contain monounsaturated fats (the same type of fats as are found in olive oil) which are beneficial since they prevent heart problems. In fact, scientific studies have shown that replacing carbohydrates with the same amount of nuts reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%. In addition, almonds contain high levels of vitamin E, magnesium and potassium.
So, How to cook with almond flour? Pay attention to these 9 tips
- The finer the almond flour, the better the consistency of the dough. If you use a coarser flour, the texture of the dough will be granular.
- To make a conventional recipe gluten-free, you can replace nearly 100% of the wheat flour required with almond flour.
- As almond flour is gluten-free, it isn't suitable for use in desserts which need to be spongy, although it can be mixed with other flours to give the dough greater volume. On the other hand, it works very well in recipes for things like muffins, pancakes, tarts, biscuits or quiche pastry cases.
- Remember that almond flour is less absorbent than conventional flour, so you'll need less liquid in whatever recipe you're cooking. It's a good idea to add the almond flour gradually so you can monitor the texture as you go along.
- Eggs are essential for achieving an even, spongy texture in dishes using almond flour.
- When making pancakes, muffins or tarts, you'll see that the dough tends to be quite wet and runny. Don't panic and think you've done something wrong: you will get the desired result!
- Almond flour tends to burn easily, so it's advisable to bake at a low temperature and for longer than with a conventional recipe. If needed, cover the tin or baking tray with aluminium foil. I suggest staying nearby while it's cooking because all ovens heat up differently... this way you'll avoid any nasty surprises!
- It's a tiny bit sweeter than other flours, so with some recipes you'll need to adjust the amount of sugar you use.
- Almond flour can be stored for a month in the fridge or for 6-8 months in the freezer. When you're ready to use the flour, take out the required amount and leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes.
So, to start, have a look at this Apple and blueberry tart made with almond flour. Easy and quick recipe for dummies!