It’s no secret that almonds are literal health nuts. They’re generally recommended as a healthy snack or salad topper because of their fiber, protein, heart-healthy fats, and vitamin E, notes the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The research on the many health benefits of almonds has led to an explosion of products made from these nuts, including almond butter, almond milk, and almond flour.
Alternative flours have become a popular way to make baked goods that are gluten-free, keto-friendly, low-carb, and diabetes-friendly. Almond flour is ground from almonds that have been peeled and blanched. You can find it in the health section of your grocery store or even make it at home in your blender. You may see the terms “almond flour” and “almond meal” used interchangeably, though almond flour is generally made with peeled, blanched almonds while almond meal is made with raw unpeeled almonds; the main difference is in the grind, which is finer in a flour than a meal, according to Bob’s Red Mill.
Almond flour can be used as a cup-for-cup replacement for all-purpose flour, and its mild, slightly sweet and nutty flavor won’t radically affect the taste of most baked goods. A study published in March 2022 in Food Chemistry: X found that cupcakes made with almond flour were moister and were generally preferred to those made with coconut flour, another popular alternative.
Almond flour shares a lot nutritionally with its source nut. It is naturally gluten-free and is higher in protein, fiber, and calcium and lower in carbohydrates than all-purpose flour, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). That, and its low impact on blood sugar, has made almond flour incredibly popular among followers of a gluten-free, diabetes-friendly, or ketogenic diet.
You don’t have to follow a special diet to enjoy almond flour, however. This biscotti recipe is a delicious way to use almond flour and just happens to be gluten-free.