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Peanut flour is the material left over after peanuts are crushed and drained of their oil. This gluten-free alternative to wheat flour is regularly used to enhance the flavor of various recipes or as a substitute in low-carbohydrate diets. It can be found in sauces, soups, breads, cakes and noodles as well as several types of protein shakes and bars.
To make this type of flour, peanuts must first be roasted and shelled. Then the seeds are crushed and the oil is pressed out to be sold. Popular in many cultures, peanut oil is used for many dishes, from stir fries to French fries. This resultant paste can then be dried and firmly pressed until a powdery flour is produced.
The fat content and coloring of peanut flour varies slightly, depending on the preparation. Typically, light-, medium- and dark-roasted styles come with a 12 percent or 28 percent fat content. A darker roast comes from a longer period of cooking. The fat content depends on how powerfully the peanut paste has been rid of its oil. Most of these fats are not saturated, but rather the well-regarded unsaturated kind. A general rule is that the darker the roast and higher the fat content, the more noticeable the peanut flavor.
In any case, peanut flour is low in carbohydrates compared to wheat or white flour, containing just one-fourth the amount of the others. Its protein content, however, is markedly higher. While regular flour has a protein count of just 13 g (nearly 0.5 oz.) for every 1 cup (about 8 oz.), peanut flour weighs in with twice as much at 31 g (more than 1 oz.) per 1 cup (about 8 oz.). This is why peanut flour can often be found among the ingredients of protein bars and shakes.
Chefs regularly use peanut flour to thicken soups or sauces as well as to add flavor to entrees, side dishes and desserts. Instead of an outright substitution for white flour, more than often chefs will merely replace some of the enriched flour with peanut flour. In other cases, however, an outright substitution is made at an even ratio.
According to the Serious Eats Web site, peanut flour can even be reformed into a style of peanut butter. This is done by restoring the flour to its paste form through adding a little peanut oil or just water to the flour. After altering the sugar and salt to taste, this impromptu spread is ready for a sandwich.