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November 24, 2017

How To Use Almond Flour and Quinoa Flour

Post by Cinde Little

How to use almond flour and quinoa flour is the fifth in my series of blog posts on gluten free flours for baking. The number of gluten free flours available is mind-boggling so I have grouped them. Not to compare but rather to learn how each flour acts differently and the best way to use them knowing these properties.

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How To Use Almond and Quinoa Flour
How To Use Almond and Quinoa Flour -photo credit Jim Little

I think everyone can and should learn to bake something, we do all eat food every single day. Most of us more than once. There is nothing like eating warm cookies from the oven or the satisfaction of baking a special treat. If you think baking is hard this tip is the first tip you need to know.

  • When baking, follow directions.
  • But when cooking, go by your own taste.
  • -Laiko Bahrs

Friends and Family – Spreading The News

Both almond and quinoa flour can be used as a single-flour replacement for wheat flour in some recipes. Not all, but some. Isn’t that worth letting your family and friends know about that? Not all of them, just the ones who are interested enough to want to bake something gluten free. They aren’t interested in reorganizing their kitchen or going on a gluten free diet, but they can and do bake. Share your best recipes with these people and help spread the word that gluten free baking isn’t rocket science. (Cross contamination is another topic…think baby steps.)

Almond Flour vs Quinoa Flour

These two flours are not substitutes for each other but they both have an immediate downside. Almonds are nuts so any baked goods using almond flour won’t be nut-free. However, almonds are not a grain so almond flour is an excellent choice for grain-free baking.

Quinoa is a gluten free grain but not everyone can tolerate quinoa whole or when milled into flour. As you learn more about gut health just know that not everyone can digest foods equally. The good news is that there are more than enough flours and recipes to cover all the individual dietary needs so be open to learning.

What is Almond Flour?

Almond flour is made from blanched almonds that have been finely ground. It is the same as the ground almonds you can buy in the baking aisle at the grocery store. You can make your own almond flour by simply grinding slivered or whole almonds but I like the reliably even grind in the store bought product. When you grind nuts they will turn into nut butter if you aren’t watching.

Almond meal is not the same as almond flour. It is made from almonds with the skin on so it does not give the same results. It will produce a darker finished product with a heavier texture. But almond flour, ground almonds and almond meal can all be used interchangeably in most recipes.

PROPERTIES

  • contains 21% protein
  • high in fiber and fat
  • mild sweet flavour
  • adds richness to baked goods

CONS

  • expensive compared to other gluten free flours
  • should be stored in the fridge or freezer for maximum freshness

BEST USES

  • cakes, quick breads and cookies

What is Quinoa Flour?

Quinoa flour is finely ground quinoa seeds. These are the same seeds you may have cooked and served as a side dish like rice, tossed into a salad or pureed to make ‘that quinoa chocolate cake’. Those same quinoa seeds can be ground into flour making quinoa flour a  healthy, versatile grain.

PROPERTIES

  • nutty flavour that can taste bitter but disappears when baked
  • works well in combination with potato flour, rice flour or tapioca starch for a lighter result
  • some brands have a coarse texture, a fine grind is preferred for baking

CONS

  • not everyone can tolerate quinoa
  • expensive compared to other gluten free flours
  • too heavy to be used alone in lighter baked goods
  • does not work in yeast breads
  • should be stored in the fridge or freezer for maximum freshness

BEST USES

  • cookies, muffins and rustic cakes

The Recipes – How To Use Almond Flour and Quinoa Flour

Over the years I have sent a lot of baked goods to school. My sons’ elementary school was nut-free so when I began baking gluten free I ignored almond flour. This year I have discovered how to use almond flour (and brown rice flour) to make delicious, crisp cookies.

Almond flour recipes:

Little Iced Pumpkin Spice Cookies on a pedestal tray.
Iced Pumpkin Spice Cookies -photo credit Jim Little

Quinoa flour recipes:

A close up of three squares of delicious chocolate cheesecake brownies made with quinoa flour
Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies -photo credit Jim Little

Happy Baking!


This is the fifth in a series of blog posts on gluten free flours. My intention is to provide a basic overview of several gluten free flours for the everyday home cook, both new and experienced. Let me know in the comments below if you have a specific problem with your baking or a tip you’d like to share.

  1. How To Use Rice Flour in Gluten Free Baking
  2. How To Use Starch
  3. How To Use Millet Flour and Sorghum Flour
  4. How To Use Corn Flour, Cornmeal and Masa Harina
  5. How To Use Almond Flour and Quinoa Flour
  6. How To Use Binders in Gluten Free Baking
  7. How To Use Chickpea Flour
  8. How To Use Teff Flour
  9. How To Use Buckwheat Flour
  10. How To Use Coconut Flour
  11. How To Use Oat Flour
  12. How To Use A Gluten Free Flour Mix

 

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