Making Almond Flour

Almond Flour

Dark Almond flour from the Cinnamon Scented Coconut Almond Milk

A few days ago I posted about making almond milk. That recipe was special treat, but normally I make plain ol’ almond milk, with just almonds and water (and sometimes a wee bit of vanilla extract). Afterwards, you have a big glop of almond pulp left over, which doesn’t contain a whole lot of flavor. You could throw it away, but almonds aren’t cheap and it seems like a waste to just toss it. You could compost it, but living in the city, I don’t exactly have a lot of space for composting or a garden (although it’s on my bucket list!). What I like to do with almond pulp is dehydrate it and make some fluffy, delicious, gluten free almond flour!

Almond flour can be used to replace about one half of the regular flour used in any recipe. It can also be combined with other gluten free flours to make a great GF baking mix. Since most of the almond flavor went into the almond milk, the flour doesn’t impart a huge almond flavor to baked goods. But the flavor IS different than wheat flour, almost sweeter without being sweet.

Making almond flour from almond pulp is really simple. Most people save up the almond pulp in the freezer and make one big batch of flour. However, I make a batch every time I make the milk because otherwise the pulp would sit in my freezer until the next ice age! My freezer is the place that good intentions go to get freezer burnt and tossed out… It only takes a few minutes of actual effort, so making it as I go doesn’t feel inefficient to me.

First, spread your almond pulp out on a tray or pan, as thin as you can get it. It wont stick to anything, so don’t grease the pan. If you have a dehydrator, set it to about 110 degrees. But if you only have an oven, set it to the lowest temperature possible (mine goes to 120 degrees).

Almond Pulp Spread on a Pan

Let the pulp dehydrate for between 4 and 8 hours, depending on the temperature of your oven. About halfway through, break of the sheet of almond paste into small bits so that the air can circulate though and dry everything completely.

Broken Up Almond Pulp

Once the almond pulp iscompletely dry, place the chunks into a high-speed blender, clean coffee grinder, spice grinder or food processor. Grind up the almond chunks until they are a finely texture flour. That’s it! I store the almond flour in the freezer, and use it as I bake. One cup of almonds used in almond milk will yield about 1/2 cup of almond flour.

Here you can see the difference in color between flour that was about 75% de-skinned almonds and the cinnamon/coconut almond flour I made in the previous post. Surprisingly, the taste isn’t very different between the two, despite the difference in ingredients! I think it’s because most of the flavor went into the milk.

Broken Up Almond Pulp

Here’s a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (using almond flour) that I’ve been meaning to make, which will help get you started in the almond flour baking adventure!

Green Smoothie vs a Meal: a comparison

As I mentioned earlier, I have had a hard time getting into the green smoothie craze. I love all the ingredients, but I have a hard time enjoying ‘thick’ food. I also have had trouble with getting strange headaches right after drinking them, like I’m having a sugar rush.

This weekend I decided to try an experiment. I made a green smoothie on Saturday, and on Sunday I made a meal using the very same ingredients. Here is my comparison.

The ingredients:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3 large leaves of kale
  • 5 cashews
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp coconut butter
  • 1 Tbs flax seed meal
  • 5 cashews
  • 1 cup almond milk

For the meal, I chopped up the fruit, and tossed it with the lemon juice. I used the coconut butter and made a massaged kale salad, and sprinkled the flax seeds on top.

Ease of preparation:

The smoothie wins hands down. With my trusty Blendtec, I barely had to chop the fruit. I just threw everything in the container, pressed the smoothie button and presto! smoothie done. The meal took about 15 minutes to make, with all the chopping and massaging.

Green Smoothie

Flavor and Enjoyment:

Due to my ‘thick food’ aversion, it’s pretty easy to guess that I enjoyed the meal more. The fruit salad was of course delicious, and the massaged kale salad was better than expected, but not something I’d ever crave. The almond milk was enjoyable as usual, and I really relished munching on the cashews. The smoothie on the other hand, was pretty much right down the middle of the two in flavor. Don’t get me wrong, it was very good, just not fruit salad good.

Satiety:

I drank the first half of my smoothie rather quickly, and it was very filling. I first felt heavy and full, then the usual light headed feeling and slight headache kicked in. However, I sipped the second half slowly, and the feeling quickly dissipated. I wasn’t hungry, but I did have the nagging desire to chew on something, out of sheer habit.

The meal took longer to eat than the smoothie, so didn’t have any trouble with a “sugar rush”. It’s definitely something that I could eat on a daily basis, it I had time. I was able to wait for my next meal, just the same as with the smoothie.

Green Meal

The Verdict:

I think I still prefer to have a meal for breakfast, but the smoothie was pretty good. You can’t beat the ease and speed of the prep! As long as I drink the smoothie really slowly, I think I can prevent the ‘weird’ feeling. In the mornings during the week, I barely have time to brush my hair, let alone massage some kale. I think I may have to same a meal like this for the weekends. The smoothie, I might give another chance. The key is, make it fast, drink it slowly!