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Nov 17, 2010 06:28 AM

Almond Flour question

I usually toast nuts to improve the flavor a little--it works--
but if I'm making almond flour (food processor) to use in cookies/desserts, do I toast the almonds first?
or *after* they have been ground? Or not at all?

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  1. Well, it's not necessary to always toast almonds before grinding, but if you want that flavor, toast them before for ease of handling. I don't normally toast for recipes that call for ground almonds. I don't know how fine a grind you can get with a FP, you won't get flour, but does your recipe specific almond flour, almond meal, ground almonds?

    5 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      It looks like I'll be using it quite a lot in the near future because I keep finding recipes *with my name on them* that call for the stuff. I recently made "zimsterne" small cinnamon cookies made with almonds. The recipe did not say to toast. I want to make financiers too, and bourbon balls, I've made them before but now I'm wondering if toasting would be a good idea. I want to optimize the almond flavor of course--but would toasting cause the flour to be drier, not hold together as well? None of my almond flour recipes call for toasting the nuts.

      1. re: blue room

        If the recipe doesnt call for toasted, I wouldnt toast. btw almond flour is avaiable at Indian stores and I think italian places like coluccio, in addition to trader joes, which carries ground almonds ground with their skins, which makes for a more interesting color and texture in some dishes. The indian product, particularly is very delicate.

        1. re: blue room

          No the flour won't be drier, it'll just have a deeper toasted almond flavor, which is not a bad thing. There's quite a lot of oil in almonds, I'm sure you're seen almond oil in the market. As I wrote, most recipes using ground almonds don't call for toasting first, and I've never come across a recipe calling for toasted almond flour. Whether you toast or not is up to you; I can't see how it would hurt your baking at all, unless you burn the almonds instead of toasting, but I know you're not going to do that.;-)

          For the bourbon balls, I would experiment and toast the almonds. Nice rich toasted almond flavor with boubon, mm-mm.

          1. re: blue room

            I am all for toasting nuts to maximize the flavour (and the crunchiness, if called for). However, untoasted ground almonds seem to lend a certain amount of moistness in texture in a recipe. I use ground almonds a lot in my cooking and baking. If time allows, I would toast them, especially for thicker cookies where I want crunch and there is a lot of the dough in the middle that would not have a chance to brown at the surface.

            However, for financiers, I would definitely use raw ground almonds because I think it helps to keep them moist. Just my preference.

            1. re: blue room

              Don't know where you are, but if you have a Kroger or Publix, make haste to your local store, because they always have Almond Flour on sale during the holiday season. I noticed it was a few bucks off last time I was at Kroger. I use it for many things, but I also substitute pecan meal, which is about the same consistency and much much cheaper "in this neck of the woods." Last time we drove to Florida, we stopped at one of the many Pecan purveyors advertised on tacky billboards. It always says, "As low as $1.98 per pound!" That's a come-on to most folks, because pecan halves or pieces cost at least 3x that, but it reminds me to stop and get some pecan meal! BTW, my bourbon ball recipe calls for pecan meal, and they're yummy.

          2. If you are determined to toast the nuts, do so before grinding. You should include some of the sugar from the recipe while processing, to avoid turning the nuts into nut butter. Personally, I prefer to buy it rather than risk wasting nuts by over-rocessing. Almond meal is very reasonably priced at Trader Joe's. As far as I know, almond meal and flour are interchangeable terms, but ground almonds would be coarser than meal/flour.

            2 Replies
            1. re: greygarious

              TJs almond meal seems a tad coarser than almond flour which is very fine. and like I said, TJs is made from unpeeled almonds - you may or may not want that color and texture.

              1. re: greygarious

                Good to know about the TJs almond flour. There is a new one near me I haven't been too. And almond flour can be expensive.

              2. I do not have a high powered food processor, and find that toasting the almonds a little helps to "dry" them up, making it easier to grind them into a finer flour. Adding a tiny bit of the wheat or rice flour from your recipe when grinding also seems to help to prevent the results from turning into a paste, with all that oil from the almonds.

                1. I've been looking at baking sites this morning, to see if toasting & grinding is recommended. Most don't mention toasting yea or nay, one said 'do it'. So knowing what I know haha I'll probably toast 50% of the nuts I use for grinding. Keep some moisture, add some flavor.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: blue room

                    Toasting vs. no depends mainly on the flavour you are looking for: Untoasted gives a sweet, almondy flavour. Toasted gives a stronger toasty/nutty flavour with less almond character.

                  2. I have never tried toasting them before grinding, but I do find there is a noticable difference in flavour to almonds ground unblanched as opposed to blanched. The skins add so much extra flavour. Cheaper, too!