Almond flour, ground almonds, almond meal, almond powder or blanched almond flour (all the same), can be used as a substitute for all-purpose flour in paleo cookie and baking recipes. Although Paleo baking can be accomplished with other “flours” and nutmeals, almond flour is the closest “flour” you can get to accomplish the taste and texture you’d get when baking with regular flour.
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Difference between Almond Meal and Almond Flour
Commercial brands don’t differentiate between the two – it really does depend on the brand. The two most popular brands, Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour, each have their own purpose in the paleo pantry depending on what you’re making.
Use Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour when you want a more delicate, lighter texture in recipes.
Use Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour when you want a chewier texture, like for cookies. If you choose to ground your own almond meal, the texture you get will be very much like that offered by Bob’s Red Mill. Most of the recipes on this site use the coarser texture of home-ground almond meal. If you want your own finer almond meal, you can always pulse the almond flour in a food processor to get a finer texture (but don’t over-mix or you’ll get almond butter).
Bob’s Red Mill is easier to find in stores (like Whole Foods), however, it is more expensive than Honeyville’s blanched almond flour (since they have a flat rate shipping policy).
Almond Meal/Flour Profile
- Almond Meal makes baked goods moister and gives them a coarse texture.
- Blanched Almond Flour makes baked goods drier and gives them a finer, denser texture.
- Baked goods using almond flour don’t taste like almonds. If you don’t like the taste of almonds, buy a small package of almonds, make your own almond meal (directions below), and try it before investing in a bigger bag.
Health Benefits of Almond Flour
- High in protein, low in carbs, low in sugar.
- Good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which is essential for brain and heart health.
- Gluten Free
- Lowers Cholesterol, partly due to the vitamin E (an antioxidant) in almonds.
Baking with Almond Flour
Almond flour works well as a substitute for flour in most muffin, cake, pancakes and cookie recipes. However, it does not do well in bread-based recipes.
- You can substitute the same amount of almond flour for all-purpose flour in baked goods recipes.
- Use slightly more rising agent than the recipe suggests due to the heavier weight of the almond flour.
- Line and butter pans with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Baked goods with almond flour are more fragile than those made with regular flour, therefore, leave them to cool a few minutes after taking them out of the oven. Be careful when loosening them from the parchment paper or pan as they break apart easily.
- 1 cup blanched almond flour = 4 ounces (by weight).
How to Make Your Own Almond Meal
Use a coffee grinder, Magic Bullet, food processor with a steel blade, or similar tool (my favorite and cheap solution is to use my Proctor Silex 1.5 cup mini food processor), to grind blanched or whole almonds. When the meal has the consistency of cornmeal, you’re done. However, do not over-grind – unless you want to make almond butter (which is nice too).
Tip: Freeze the nuts before grinding and “pulse” (short spurts of on/off and not a constant grind).
Store your almond meal in the freezer or refrigerator and use quickly after buying or making it. Almonds, like all nuts, do not store well .
1/4 pound whole nuts yields approximately 1 cup nut meal.
Where to Buy Almond Flour or Almond Meal
Many stores carry almond flour and almond meal, if you can’t find it at your local grocery store or specialty foods store (or, like me, prefer to buy products online), we’ve provided some resources and notes below:
How to Store Almond Flour
If you’re buying or making almond flour in bulk, keep some in the pantry (in an air-tight container) for immediate use. Store the rest in the freezer (in an air-tight freezer bag). When you’re ready to use the almond flour stored in the freezer, leave it out to defrost first, as it will be clumpy and not easy (or rather, impossible) to measure correctly.
Almond flour and almond meal can keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, sometimes longer if stored in the freezer.
Fat Content Alert: Use with Caution
In terms of paleo/primal, and low-carb diets, if weight loss is your goal, use almond flour with caution. One cup of tightly packed almond meal/flour is more than 1000 calories with more than 13 grams of omega-6 PUFAs. In layman’s terms, living a paleo lifestyle, like all diets, require eating/using ingredients in moderation. Like all desserts, enjoy as an indulgence, but don’t eat it everyday. For more technical and in-depth information, head over to Mark’s Daily Apple.