If you've done much paleo cooking you'll have noticed lots of recipes call for almond flour or almond meal. With flour a no-no, almond flour is a great alternative.
What's the difference between almond meal and almond flour?
Simple – almond meal is darker in colour because it is made with almonds with their skins on. Almond flour is made with blanched almonds.
I prefer cooking with a more finely ground almond flour/ meal as I find it a lot lighter. Another thing to bear in mind, is that if you're substituting conventional flour for almond flour, you'll need to watch the temperatures – you'll probably need them a lot lower.
Make your own
You can make your own almond flour by blanching almonds and grinding them -but be careful not to over grind, or you'll end up with almond butter. To get really good results (like shop bought almond flour), you'll need a grain/ nut mill, like this. If that's too much like hard work, you can buy your almond flour or meal ready to use. Remember – buy in bulk to save money – the small packs are really expensive.
Substituting flour for almond flour
Unfortunately it's not as simple as substituting one cup of white or wholemeal flour for one cup of almond flour. Almond flours lack the starch and gluten SAD flour has, which may mean you need to consider adding some sort of binding ingredient like eggs. You may also find a 1-1 substitution makes your recipe turn out too dense.
Storing almond flour
As this is an oil based flour, you need to make sure it doesn't turn rancid (if it does,throw it away). I store mine in the freezer, but if you keep yours in a cool dark place it should be ok for several months. Another reason to buy in bulk.