How To Make Your Own Almond Flour

Can anyone tell me what makes a man tick?  Because I am at a loss.  My husband whom I think is (usually) a genius leaves me scratching my  head.  Why?  Let me tell you how my day started.  We have 2 of iPod touches, the ones that have Face to Face which is video calling.  First just let me say that I hate the idea of video calling.  I don’t want to be bothered worrying about how I look just to make a phone call.  It’s great for the kids and Grandma and for the kids and my husband or I while at work.  However it’s not great when the iPod rings at 5:20 am because my husband, who was at work, thought I would be awake and he wanted to demonstrate to a male co-worker how the thing worked.  Seriously?!  I ignored the call and tried to go back to sleep.  Then he called back at 6:30.  I had just woke up and was barely upright or even thinking yet.  I answer the call and while waiting to connect see myself on the screen and ponder what has become of me.  Can you now imagine how mortified I am when the call connects and there is Ron’s co-worker staring back at me.  Seriously, what was my husband thinking?!  Now I know better than to show my face when I answer a call.      

One of my favorite blogs is Elana’s Pantry.  Nearly everything this woman posts looks great.  For me the problem is that she uses a lot of almond flour.  I love almond flour, just not the price.  She recommends one particular brand, Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.  While I’m sure it is a great product, I just can’t see myself spending that kind of money on flour.  As I have said before on this blog, we grind a lot of our own flours.  We grind amaranth, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and corn.  We save a TON of  money doing it this way.  Since I am leaning toward a grain free diet lately it got me wondering if I could make my own almond flour.   Turns out that yes, I can.  It’s quick and easy.  I have used this almond flour for cookies, muffins and pancakes.  So far everything I have tried with it has worked out great.  I have never purchased almond flour so I guess I have nothing to compare mine too but I expect that mine is moister so I need to use a bit less oil in whatever recipe I am using if the recipe calls for commercial almond flour.  The only things you need to make this is a coffee grinder (preferably not one that you use coffee beans for) and a wire mesh sieve.   

Here’s how I do it.  

Larger Pieces Sifted Out

Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of whole raw almonds to the coffee grinder.  Grind until you have a fine meal.  When you hear the grinder make a different noise and the almond meal inside is not moving well anymore, stop.  If you continue you will be making chunky almond butter.  Pour the almond meal into a sieve which is sitting in a large bowl.  Shake out the almond flour into the bowl.  The larger meal and some bigger pieces will be left over.  Just leave them in the bowl for now and repeat the process until you have the amount you need.  Then add back into the grinder all those small pieces and the courser meal and grind again.   

Closer Look

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I must get at my day now.  The kids found the small head of a salamander in the living room this morning.  I have got to locate the rest of him.  Yup, that’s desert life!

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Lemon Bars

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

 

I live in Arizona.  We have more sun here than anywhere else in the country.  This is a great thing.  When it does rain or is cool and overcast I get such an intense desire to bake.  This has been one of the wettest January/February’s on record.  So consequently I have been doing a ton of baking.  Seriously, if the sun doesn’t come out to stay for a while I may get too big to get out the door.  A couple of days ago I made an angel food cake from scratch.  It was pretty good except the recipe I was adapting it from called for orange extract instead of vanilla or almond and I thought it sounded interesting so I tried it.  The cake was good but I hated the orange in it.  It completely ruined it for me.  However, next rainy day you know what I’ll be up to.  The cake recipe used 12 egg whites so I was left with 12 egg yolks that I needed to find a use for.  I came across a site that listed a bunch of different uses for egg yolks.  One of the ideas was lemon bars with real lemon curd on top.  I love lemon bars.  They are a favorite of mine although they are rarely lemony or tart enough for my liking.  So, enter wickedly tart lemon squares.  I made them last night and WOW they are awesome.  They are super lemony and a bit tart but very sweet too.  True, this is not the kind of recipe I usually post but in my defense I really had to use up those egg yolks.  I don’t want to give the impression that I am all about health food or that I have a perfect diet.  I soooooo don’t.  I only aspire to.   

Well, since I am being honest I have to confess that for me, these perfect lemon bars were like crack, not that I know what that is like first hand.  I made them last night and all day today kept coming back for just one more taste.  By dinner time I realized that half of the 9×13 pan was gone.  I ate most of it since Ron was at work.  That is really not like me.  Of all the sweet things I make I usually only have one or two small servings.  This dessert was different.  So when I realized what I had done I felt immediate guilt.  My first thought was that I would call my friend and neighbor to see if she would take the rest of them so that I didn’t finish them myself.  Then, like an addict, I thought, no I want it all to myself, I don’t want to share.  I went back and forth like this for a couple hours.  Seriously.  Then I came to my senses and called Susanne.  Unbelievably she had the NERVE to say NO!  What kind of friend says no when you tell them you need help?  I needed her to share the calories with me and to at least half the guilt.  NO!?  Then she had the audacity to ask me if I had been to the gym this week!!!  I told her to “Shut it!”  

Tomorrow is another day.  Susanne, you are so ON!  I just needed that kick in the pants.  I hate you today.  I’ll love you tomorrow.  Maybe I should shame myself into eating better and getting to the gym by posting my weight and measurements…..  Or maybe not.  

Lemon Bars 

Shortbread  Base 

2 sticks of butter (1 cup) cold and cut into cubes (see how good this is starting out?) 

1/2 cup sugar 

1 1/2 cup Kim’s All Purpose Flour 

1 cup millet flour 

Lemon Filling 

12 egg yolks 

1 1/2 cups sugar 

1 – 1 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 

1/2 cup melted butter 

pinch of salt 

zest from 5 lemons (maybe 2-3 TBSP) Use a fine microplane for this. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a food processor add the cold butter and sugar.  Process until smooth.  Then add your flours.  Process until the flour is blended in and it forms a ball.  Dump out the shortbread into a 9×13 glass Pyrex pan.  Press dough down to an even layer.  Bake for 35 minutes or until the edges just barely start to brown.  While that is baking make the lemon curd.  In a saucepan over medium- low heat add your egg yolks, sugar and salt.  Whisk together until smooth.  Add the melted butter and all that lemon juice.  While stirring constantly, use a candy thermometer to slowly reach a temperature of 196 degrees.  Do not boil it or the eggs will curdle.  Once the filling has thickened and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove from heat and immediately pour it through a fine mesh.  I almost skipped this part because my filling looked completely smooth.  I did it anyway and sure enough there were tiny bits of cooked egg.  Add the lemon zest and stir well.  When the base is cooked pour filling over top and smooth to edges.  Drop the temperature of your oven to 300 degrees and cook for an additional 10  minutes.  Remove from the oven and leave it to come to room temperature.  Then refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour for it to set.  When it comes out of the oven it will look like the filling is not set.  Don’t worry, it will set in the fridge.  To serve you can cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar.  Or you can do it like I did.  Keep taking tiny slivers off the edges, don’t use a plate, pop it right into your mouth and then you can try to convince yourself that you didn’t just eat half the pan.

Almond Coconut Cookies

Almond Coconut Cookies

 I have been trying to decrease my intake of sugar and simple carbs. I usually don’t really have a sweet tooth but because I am trying not to eat sugar I am therefore craving it. So this morning I wanted to make a cookie that would satisfy my craving for something sweet but would still be lower in carbs and even offer some nutrition. These cookies are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy and corn free and very low in sugar. They are sweetened with a bit of honey. What they are not is taste free. They are surprisingly good. Additionally they are high in fiber and are incredibly satisfying. And Yes! the kids and husband actually like them. Store them in the fridge and feel free to use these as a healthy snack in between meals.           

Almond Coconut Cookies         

2 cups raw almonds
1 cup fine shredded unsweetened dried coconut aka coconut powder
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup honey (or agave nectar for vegan)
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 oz 60% -72% chocolate. (I used Ghirardelli)         

In a food processor add almonds and process until you have as fine a meal as your machine will make. Add remaining ingredients and process for another minute or two. When you see the “dough” coming into a ball it is done.  If it doesn’t come into a ball, keep adding more oil until it comes together.  The oil is what holds the cookies together.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take teaspoons full and roll into balls and press down into discs about 1/2 inch thick. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until they are just starting to brown. While cookies are baking, slowly melt melt chocolate in a small nonstick pot. When cookies are done let them cool for a bit then drizzle chocolate over top. Store in the fridge.   

This post was posted at the following Blog Carnivals:    

Wholesome Whole Foods     

Food Revolution Fridays

Food Renegade

Perfect GF Shortbread Cookies

Christmas may begin. For me it doesn’t feel like Christmas until I have had my mom’s famous shortbread cookies. My mom made these every year when I was a kid. They were always every ones favorite. I used her recipe but subbed the all purpose wheat flour for my gf all purpose flour. They turned out EXACTLY as I remember them and my mom agreed. They are light, fluffy, fragile, buttery, melt in your mouth perfection. They are the way shortbread cookies should be. Once, I tried a commercial shortbread. That is not shortbread. This is shortbread.

Fabulously Perfect Real GF Shortbread Cookies

3 cups Kim’s all purpose flour mix

1 cup of icing/confectioners sugar

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 lb butter softened to room temperature ***This must be real butter, not margarine or shortening***

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Cream butter and dry ingredients. This takes a while. Add vanilla. Beat until fluffy. You may drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet ( I always use parchment paper to make my life easier) but these are best if you use a cookie press. In the pictures below I used a piping bag as my cookie press just died. Then decorate the cookies with maraschino cherry bits, chocolate chips or sprinkles. They are meant to be small and delicate. Bake for 15 minutes. Do not brown. This will make 7-8 dozen small cookies.