Monday, June 20, 2011

Baking with Nut Flours

by Lauren Rauh

I'm not jumping on the gluten free or wheat free bandwagon, but the increasing popularity of these lifestyles has brought about the greater availability of alternative flours for baking. Seeing quinoa, barley, coconut, and chestnut flours at the super market sends my mind soaring with pastry inspiration, but the prices keep me from ever bringing these flours home. An easy way to save some money and still be able to experiment is to make your own flours. For this you need a good quality blender or a coffee grinder. I decided because of the abundance of raw almonds in my cabinets, that I would make muffins using almond flour.

Nut flours are full of protein and good fats and add an extra nutritional boost to baked goods. They also impart a wonderful wholesome flavor. If you are making your own nut flours it is important to use only raw nuts and to not over grind the nuts, or you will suddenly have nut butter (also delicious, but not a good flour substitute). For these muffins I ground about three cups raw almonds in small batches using my coffee grinder. It gave me enough flour with a little bit to spare.

The following recipe is extremely simple and rife with opportunity to experiment. Add spices or herbs, try different ground nuts or a combination of different flours. As long as the proportions stay the same you should have hearty, moist muffins in no time.

The Goods:
1 ¾ cup finely ground almond flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
2 eggs
¼ cup walnut oil (or oil of choice)
¼ cup honey

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line your muffin tin. Mix the dry goods in a small bowl. Beat together the eggs, oil, and honey.

Stir the dry mix into the wet ingredients. The batter will be very wet. Evenly divide the muffin batter between six muffin cups.

Bake in the center of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center of a muffin comes out clean. The tops should be a deep, golden brown.

You may want to double or triple this recipe since six muffins will not last long!
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