Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Almond flour vs. coconut flour

Almond flour and coconut flour appear everywhere in recipes for "primalized" baked goods. I'm not sure that almond/coconut flour cupcakes and whatnot can really be considered "primal," but if you have a craving for something that just won't go away, then I think they're an acceptable alternative to traditional/wheat-flour-based-and-HFCS-saturated products.

So, here's a concise look at a few of the major differences that might guide your primal baking adventures in the future:
1. Water absorbency. Coconut flour absorbs much more water than almond flour, so a recipe that would require 1/4c of coconut flour might require twice as much almond flour. Just something to keep in mind.
2. Texture. Even blanched, finely ground almond flour still has larger clasts (geology term FTW!) than coconut flour. As such, coconut flour is probably a better candidate for making a breading. However, even for cakes and muffins, almond flour still produces a smooth batter.
3. Macronutrient stats. Almond flour is lower carb, higher protein, and higher fat than coconut flour, but as it's made from (surprise!) almonds, it has more omega-6's ... so while it isn't really an issue if it's used for occasional treats, I wouldn't go around eating 3 almond-flour muffins for breakfast every day and expect to improve my health.
4. Taste. Both coconut and almond flour have a distinct taste, so this one comes down to personal preference. I find that almond flour's taste is more subtle, so it's better than coconut flour for making savory dishes ... or anything where a hint of sweetness would really kill it (like chili rellenos).

Oh, and this post was prompted by the almond flour blueberry muffins that I made yesterday, which were delicious -- and the almond flour added a subtle flavor that complements the blueberries very nicely.

1/2c almond flour
2 eggs
2T heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1 packet of stevia (probably equal to 1/4 tsp powdered)
1 tsp baking powder
5 oz blueberries
2T butter, melted 

Beat eggs, butter, cream, and salt, then add in blueberries and stir. In a seperate bowl, mix almond flour, baking powder, and stevia, then add to egg mixture and stir well. Use a greased muffin tin, this makes about 5 or 6 muffins depending on how large you like them.
Bake for 15 minutes at 375F

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