Made of whole or blanched almonds, almond meal is similar to almond flour. The product is basically ground-up almonds and is used in a variety of culinary endeavors including baking cakes, cookies, and all sorts of other delicious treats. The product is especially popular among people who practice gluten-free diets, who are becoming more and more numerous.
The basic difference between almond meal and almond flour is the size of its particles. Almond flour is made up of tiny particles of completely ground down almonds, resulting in a fine white powder. Almond meal, on the other hand, is made of much more coarse particles. The smaller the particles the more practical they are for baking, so in that respect, almond flour has some advantages in cosine over an almond meal.
Almond Meal vs Almond Flour
A simple way of looking at it would be: you do not use almond meal as a flour replacement. While almond flour is a classic flour used for baking, the almond meal will be more of an added ingredient that will make your cookies or cakes tastier and more versatile. Trying to use almond meal instead of almond flour will usually result in a big mess.
Almond Meal Nutrition
Let us have a look at what is an almond meal from a nutritional standpoint.
Almond meal, like almonds themselves, is an exceptional source of nutrition. Primarily, the almond meal contains an extremely high concentration of protein, with over 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of the meal. The rest of the meal is comprised of some 49 grams of fat and 20 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams and various minerals and vitamins.
Due to its extremely high levels of fat and protein, 100 grams of almond meal will contain an astounding 576 kcal of energy, making up over a quarter of the recommended daily calorie intake. Almonds are one of those products that could be exceptional protein sources, except it is not, as eating too much will simply make you fat and even ill as too much fat will be really bad for you. Make sure you use almond meals in moderation.
Is Almond Meal Gluten-Free?
What Is Almond Meal and is it gluten-free? In the modern-day, gluten has become a very common topic of conversation, as there are rising numbers of people who are gluten intolerant. When it comes to almond and almond meals, we can say with 100% certainty that they are absolutely gluten-free. This opens a whole new door for the product as gluten-free diets can often be hard to make up, and the almond meal will be one of the must-have products for people looking to lead a gluten-free life.
Almond Meal Alternatives
Almond meal is a great product, but in some circumstances, it can be hard to come by or expensive. Especially during droughts, almonds can be hard to come by as they require an obscene amount of water to grow. This leaves us with the question, what are good almond meal alternatives?
Most nuts can be ground down and used as meals. Simply using some coconut flour can also be a nice and interesting substitute as it will give your cookies a very nice flavor and it is nice to mix it up either way. If you are gluten-free, though, make sure that you use nuts that are gluten-free as well and read the labels on your products.
Almond Meal Cake Recipes
So now that we have learned what an almond meal is, let us see how we can apply it in the kitchen to make some delicious cakes.
1. Cardamom Apple Almond Cake
This cake will require:
- Vegetable oil for greasing pan
- 1/2 cup matzo meal (not cake meal), plus additional for dusting
- 1 cup slivered almonds (4 1/2 oz), toasted and cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature for 30 minutes
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and coarsely grated
For powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon potato starch
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Oil springform pan and dust with matzo meal, knocking out excess.
Pulse almonds in a food processor with 1/2 cup matzo meal, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cardamom until finely ground. (Be careful not to pulse to a paste.)
Beat yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, then add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating, and beat until mixture is very thick and pale, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in nut mixture, then apples. Beat whites and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, a little at a time, beating and beating until whites just hold stiff peaks. Stir one-fourth of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Scrape batter into pan and rap pan once on the work surface to eliminate any large air bubbles.
Bake it until it is puffy and brown and the top springs back when touched, 40 to 45 minutes. Move it to the rack and then cool it in the pen. Remove the cake with a knife around the edges.
For powdered sugar: grind sugar in a grinder until it turns to powder, stir with potato starch. Pour sugar over the cake. You can leave some of the sugar for another time.
- Magic Almond Cake
- 3/4 cup butter soft
- 1 cup Sugar
- 4 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 tsp Almond Extract
- 1-1/2 cups Almond Meal/Flour
- 1/2 cup Organic Coconut Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- Frosting as desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your cake pan with parchment paper or oil and flour it.
Mix butter and sugar for 7 to 10 minutes until they turn fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and blend them all together. Add the milk and the extracts.
Use another bowl to mix the almond meal with coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this mix to the butter mix until all becomes one creamy mix
Bake it for about 25 minutes and then let it cool off.
Images used via creative commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Image One by HealthAliNess – https://www.flickr.com/photos/healthaliciousness/5604659113/
Image Two by Jules – https://www.flickr.com/photos/stone-soup/4302330208/
Image Three by Robin McNichol – https://www.flickr.com/photos/23132902@N07/12906505405/