Almond flour is a grain-free girl’s best friend. I wonder how life could be lived without almonds. There would be no cakes, no muffins, no waffles (slight tear). OK, that might be a teensy bit dramatic, considering there are alternatives like coconut flour and quinoa flour.
But…. I still say that almond flour is an absolute, must-have staple in the pantry.
Almond flour is just finely ground blanched almonds. That’s it. The finer the grind, the better the result in baking.
There are 2 basic kinds: almond flour made from blanched almonds and almond flour made from unblanched almonds (which, if we’re going to get technical is actually almond meal). There is lots of debate about blanched versus unblanched almond flour. Many say that the flours cannot be used interchangably in recipes.
Blanched almonds have had the skin removed so when they are ground into flour, it has a uniformly light yellow color and is quite fine. Purchased almond flour is almost always made from blanched almonds.
Unblanched almond flour (or, rather, almond meal) is made from almonds that are ground with the skin still on them. The result is a coarser flour that is light yellow with brown flecks. It also has a higher nutritional value.
When I first went grain-free, I could not afford to buy almond flour so I made my own using unblanched almonds (the ones with the skin on them). You can do this too. I prefer using a food processor, but you could use a powerful blender or even a coffee grinder. Grind 1 cup of almonds at a time, grinding until it is as fine as you can possibly get it. I try and get it to the texture of finely ground coffee. (One note of caution: Do not blend it so enthusiastically that you whir it into almond butter!)
That kind of almond flour worked just fine for me. I simply could not afford to buy the pre-ground variety. But really it is not ideal to use unblanched almonds for baking. It adds a nutty texture to everything. Which can be nice. But a bit…um, repetitive?
So you have two options.
1. You can order almond flour online. It is waaaay less expensive this way than buying it at a bulk food store or a the grocery store. (Unless they have a crazy good sale. In which case… let me know. I want in.)
2. You can blanch your own almonds. Then you grind them. Stay posted for in-depth instructions on how to do this yourself.