As a better-for-you snack company, we’re always thinking of what common ingredients we can swap out to make snacks that a wider variety of people can enjoy. For our popcorn, that means saying no to vegetable oil in favor of organic coconut oil, avocado oil, or ghee. For our puffed snacks, that means swapping out grains with cassava root. Similarly, for our Mini Cookies, we keep it grain and gluten free by replacing regular flour with almond flour.
Whether you eat gluten free for health reasons, you’re exploring a paleo or keto diet, or just trying to eat less refined wheat flour, almond flour is a terrific alternative. It can replace wheat flour in virtually any recipe. It’s readily available in grocery stores, but it’s also easy to make at home. And it offers a host of health benefits that wheat flour doesn’t. Read on to learn more about one of our favorite kinds of flour!
What is almond flour?
Almond flour is, very simply, ground up almonds! However, there is a distinction between almond flour and almond meal. Almond flour is made with almonds that are blanched (boiled in water) and peeled, then ground and sifted to give it a fine texture similar to that of wheat flour. Almond meal is unpeeled ground almonds, which makes the texture chunkier and gives the ground almonds a slightly nuttier taste. They can be used almost interchangeably in baking; however, you should be aware of the textural differences and choose accordingly based on what consistency and taste you want for your final product.
What makes almond flour so healthy?
Because almond flour is just ground up almonds, it retains the myriad health benefits of the nut itself. First, almonds are packed with healthy fats that lower the bad type of cholesterol. A handful of almonds contains an eighth of the average person’s daily protein needs. And almonds are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that help our body function at its best and reduce the risk of illnesses from diabetes to cancer. Almond flour, similarly, is packed with vitamin E, which is linked to better brain function, as well as with prebiotic dietary fiber, which helps our gut microbiome operate efficiently. While wheat flours can still be healthy and nutritious if they are 100% whole wheat, many people experience sensitivity to gluten. If you’ve ever noticed yourself feeling bloated, fatigued, or experiencing any kind of pain after eating wheat flour products, consider switching to almond flour and see if you notice a difference. Even if you don't have any gluten insensitivity, it's still worth going nuts once in a while for the health boosts alone.
How do you use almond flour?
Almond flour is popular as a gluten-free flour for its versatility in all kinds of recipes. It doesn’t have an overpowering flavor, and the texture can be made light and fluffy. It can be used for anything for which you would use wheat flour: bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, biscuits, muffins...whatever you can think of! One thing to remember is that almond flour can go rancid sooner than wheat flour, so it's best to store it in your fridge or freezer if you don't plan on using it quickly.
How do you make almond flour?
You shouldn’t have a problem finding almond flour in your basic supermarket. However, making it yourself is just as simple! All you need are blanched almonds and a blender. Pop ‘em in the blender and pulse until you have something light and powdery. Because of the fat content of almonds, you just need to make sure you don’t blend for so long that the almonds become pasty. Otherwise, you’ve got almond butter rather than flour. But hey, there are worse fates in life!