Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Mar 22, 2013 12:44 PM

What's the Point of Almond Flour in Macarons?

Besides flavour, if I don't have any at hand can I just omit them? Or if it's possible to use ground hazelnuts or something like that?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That probably would work but I don't see how ground hazelnuts are easier to come by than ground almonds?

    They provide texture, IMO there's so much sugar I can't really taste the almonds. If you try the hazelnuts let us know ;)

    1 Reply
    1. re: youareabunny

      It's easier to come by because I actually have some in my house haha!

    2. It can work with different kinds of ground nuts, but might turn out more like an amaretti cookie than a traditional macaron, which is fine depending on who you ask. Source: experience.

      1. you can use any group nut or seed (pumpkin, sesame). The reason almond is common is because it is a nut that is fairly neutral in taste and can pair easily with any thing. It provides texture in the loose sense that the reason a french macaron has that give/chew is because of the nut flour.

        assuming you are making a french style macaron you cannot omit the nut/nut flour. If you did, you will get a completely different product. Also you cannot subsitute it for flour, flour develops gluten and you will basically have a weird spritiz cookie.

        8 Replies
        1. re: jester99

          Yea, without the nut flour it would be a meringue cookie.

          1. re: bischlat

            With flour it would be more like angel food cake..?

            1. re: bischlat

              The kind you put in a gun and make shapes with. I think it's most popular during Christmas time.

              Cookie gun

            2. re: jester99

              I see, so the texture is all from nut flour? Is it because of the fat in the nuts that give it that chew? Or protein or something?

              1. re: AngelSanctuary

                Whether the nut flour contributes texture or not depends on how finely ground it is.

                I am not an expert in making this kind of cookie, but my impression is that the texture (blend of crisp shell, soft inside) has more to do with the egg whites than the nuts. But as noted, these are not simply baked sweet whipped egg whites (meringues).

                A plain starch, like cornstarch, might make a better substitute than flour.

                1. re: AngelSanctuary

                  My guess is a nut flour will absorb less moisture from the egg whites and such than normal flour. Macarons are chewy while angel food cake (meringue and ap flour) are airy and cakey :)

                  I bought almond meal at trader joes I believe 3.99 for 500 g. Cheaper than sprouts (same exact product but more expensive and is in those bins that everyone sticks their hands in, yuck) and whole foods (although the WH version may have been actual almond flour which does not have the skin and is much finer).

                  I made macarons twice, once with the almond meal is as and once sifted. In terms of looks the sifted ones were smoother. For taste and texture I don't recall a huge difference but it seriously took an hour or longer to sift the almond meal whereas sifting the same amount of flour would've taken minutes.

                  So if you really want to be fancy then almond flour is your better bet and probably more cost effective since after sifting only about 1/2-3/4 of the almond meal is fine enough and you'll probably be too annoyed to continue anyway.

                  if you use hazelnuts just get them as fine as you can! I've read that home machinery can't handle the process. Or maybe too much heat would b generated and you'd end up with hazelnut butter instead.

                  Let us know what happens! With pics :) if u can

              2. Coconut macaroons are just almond macarons adapted to use coconut in place of the almonds.

                The light macarons that are sandwiched together are just one type of French macarons. Look, for example, at this list from Chocolate&Zucchini



                20 yr old hazelnut macaroon recipes from Bon Appetit

                1. definitely don't omit if you're intending to make a macaron like the ones with almond flour.

                  i have done with just hazelnuts (toasted, skinned and ground), as well as a combo of hazelnuts and almonds. i prefer the latter. this recipe (not one i have made) uses hazelnuts and flour:

                  also good with unsalted ground pistachios. perhaps those are easier to come by by you, or you have them on hand...

                  a nut free alternative is toasted ground pumpkin seeds. (as suggested below)