A great alternative to wheat flour is almond flour or almond meal. It’s simply raw almonds ground up! You can find it at health food stores or you can make it easily. And you can sub it in your favorite recipes when it calls for wheat flour!
Almond flour is typically made with blanched (no skin) almonds and almond meal can be made with blanched or whole almonds. They can be used interchangeably in recipes. Almond meal is fairly new to me, but I’m loving it.
I use almond meal out of whole almonds for 2 reasons:
- It’s healthier for you! Almonds are healthy for a number of reasons. They’re packed with healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium (which aids calcium) and potassium. But when you remove the skin, you remove part of the antioxidant effect. (The flavonoids in the skin mix with the vitamin E in the meat to give the greatest antioxidant boost.) Antioxidants in turn increase immune defense and lower the risk of illness.
- It’s easier to make! You don’t have to go to the trouble of blanching the almonds or buying blanched almonds.
How to make almond meal:
- Measure your raw almonds and place them in a small grinder. You don’t want to do too many at once because your grinder has to work too hard. You also don’t want to make too much almond meal because it’s best used right after you grind it. You can store it in the fridge if you have extra, but left out it can become rancid. I look at my recipe, see what I need, then grind that amount. 1/2 cup whole almonds=1/2 cup almond meal.
- Turn your grinder on medium for 15 seconds (or a few pulses if yours works that way.) Because all grinders are different, you can play with the amounts, but I timed mine for you :). You want it to be the texture of soft cornmeal. Don’t over grind or you’ll have almond butter (one of my daughter’s favorites, but another post!)
- Use a flour sifter (that’s not contaminated with gluten!) to sift the flour. Put any larger chunks back through the grinder. I omit this step if I’m making something nuts go into (like cookies or granola bars) because I like the texture, but cakes need this sifting step!
Look into almond flour if you are eating a gluten free, grain free, low carb or even a high sugar diet. Why high sugar? Because it adds protein into your baked goods to balance out the sugar high you normally get!