Finely ground almonds have a soft, grainy consistency similar to fine sand or granulated sugar. You can purchase finely ground almonds -- also known as almond meal or flour -- by the half or full pound in the grocery store, or you can grind your own blanched almonds at home in a coffee grinder or food processor, toasting almonds beforehand for an almond flavour boost.
Some cake recipes specifically call for ground almonds or almond meal instead of flour, but you can substitute almond meal for flour in just about any cake recipe. The almond meal adds a subtle almond flavour to cakes, tortes and brownies, while the natural oil in almonds adds a touch of richness and depth to these treats. You can also use finely ground almonds as a garnish or dusting for giving iced cakes a light, nutty crust.
You can use almond meal as a substitute for flour in an array of cookie recipes, or simply add a few teaspoons for texture and taste. The almond oil will keep cookies moist while the granules add texture and flavour to cookies. Ground almonds are delicious when mixed into oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, sugar, shortbread and chocolate cookies. For a creative twist, try dipping cookies into a simple icing made by mixing two parts confectionery sugar with one part water, and then sprinkling ground almonds on top. Allow 15 minutes for icing to stiffen and set before serving.
While breaded and fried chicken, fish and steak tastes delicious, the oil, breadcrumbs and flour these dishes are made with aren't healthy for your waist or your heart. Almond meal is a delicious, healthy alternative to traditional flour and breadcrumb breading. Simply dip meat into an egg wash, coat with almond meal and pan fry with a little olive oil. Not only does the almond meal infuse meat with a mildly sweet, the nutty taste will also give it a crisp, delicious crunch. Almond meal is low in carbohydrates, making it an excellent substitute for those on low-carb diets. The omega fatty acids that naturally occur in almond oil are heart-healthy, and can help lower cholesterol, as well as improve the skin's appearance.
Almond meal also makes for a quick, convenient and tasty breakfast and dessert topping. Sprinkle a healthy handful of ground almonds on top of oatmeal, in cold cereal, on a buttered corn muffin, on a bagel with cream cheese, atop an egg soufflé or in yoghurt for a healthy boost to your usual breakfast. Sprinkle a generous handful on ice cream, pudding, whipped cream, warm apple pie or bread pudding for a rich and nutty flavour.
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