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Low-carb almond flour is a flour made from finely ground almonds. It is considered to be a low-carbohydrate food, as it contains only 24 grams of carbohydrates per cup, as opposed to the 95 grams of carbohydrates found in a cup of white flour. Individuals who are on a low-carb diet can use low-carb almond flour to produce various types of baked goods, including cookies, pancakes, and muffins. It is also used by those who are following a gluten-free diet and need to avoid products made from wheat, although people with a gluten intolerance must make sure that the flour that they purchase has not been contaminated with gluten during the manufacturing process. Some companies produce a product called "almond meal," which is made from almonds still in their skins, while "almond flour" is typically used to describe a flour made from skinless almonds.
Many people who follow low-carb diets because of a desire to lose weight or control their blood sugar levels often find that they miss being able to eat baked goods. For these folks, low-carb almond flour offers the option of being able to bake or prepare low- or lower-carb products that can satisfy these cravings. Those who work with low-carb almond flour note that it can make a good substitute for flour in many types of recipes, including those for quickbreads and crusts. While it can be used in a crunchy topping for savory casseroles as well as desserts, it generally does not work well as a breading, as it is vulnerable to burning and doesn't cling well to other foods.
While it is possible to find low-carb almond flour in both standard supermarkets and specialty food stores, it is also possible to make it at home. Home cooks can put almonds into a food processor or blender and grind to the desired consistency. After grinding, the resulting flour or meal should be stored in an airtight container.
What makes almond flour a desirable substitute for grain-based flours is that it is relatively low in carbohydrate while also having twice the protein of wheat flour. In addition, half the carbohydrates in almond flour or meal is fiber, which many low-carb dieters can subtract from their daily carbohydrate counts, as fiber doesn't have a significant effect on blood sugar. Dieters who are very concerned about limiting carbohydrate intake should be careful to figure out the carbohydrate count in individual servings of foods made from low-carb almond flour, as the flour does contain carbohydrates and it is possible to exceed one's daily carbohydrate allowance through overindulgence in almond flour–based foods.
I need to get some almond flour and do some experimenting with it. I've used almond meal for cheesecake crusts instead of graham crackers, or mixed with crushed graham crackers, and it gave the crust a nice texture and made it a little sturdier.
Almond flour is probably good for gluten-free recipes, too, and since so many people are going gluten-free these days, that's probably a good option for people who have celiac disease or are otherwise trying to cut down on their gluten intake.
I made a really good honey cake from finely ground almonds for Thanksgiving a few years ago. It was sort of coarsely textured, but was very tasty. I kept the recipe because it was so versatile and very low-carb.
I have also used almond flour for baked goods, which worked pretty well. You have to tinker with the chemistry a little so you can get a decent result, but it's worth the effort to be able to eat something a little sweet without blowing your diet completely.
I'm glad to see almond flour available in most grocery stores, now. It's a good alternative to white flour.
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