December 18, 2013 3:35 pm
Updated: April 7, 2014 10:04 am

Shrink your waistline this holiday with a decadent gluten free ingredient

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YES! It is true!

If you change what you eat- you can change your life!

Gluten Free is all the talk right now and it is AMAZING how many people are either going gluten free, trying gluten free or looking for gluten free alternatives.

As a chef, nutritionist and celiac I LOVE to show people how gluten free can be absolutely DECADENT, healthy and even shrink the waistline!

The ingredient that I love to use in my gluten free baking tends to surprise most. It is ALMOND FLOUR!

Almonds are known to actually HELP you shrink your waistline!

Almonds with Hands

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How?

Almonds contain protein, fibre and heart healthy monosaturated  fat that help you to stay FULL for longer! And the benefits don’t just stop there!

Almonds help to lower your cholesterol, fight diabetes and even boost your immunity.

So, why not take your holiday baking UP a notch and pack in all the nutrition of almonds in the form of a baked good!

How you ask?

Almond flour!

I love baking with almond flour and have two amazing almond flour recipes for you along with my top tips on how to bake with almond flour.

Gluten free almond shortbread cookies

I just love the simplicity of this recipe. The crunch of the almonds combines with just a hint of almond extract to provide the perfect compliment to an after dinner tea or they even make a wonderful gluten free gift!

Gluten Free Almond Shortbread Cookies!

Almond Shortbread Cookies

by Kathy Smart~from LiveTheSmartWay~ bestselling gluten free cookbook

Shortbreads are one of my favourite cookies. Scottish in origin, this rich, tender and crumbly cookie is served every Christmas in the Smart home. I have smartened up the traditional shortbread cookie made of flour, butter and sugar by substituting  ground almonds and healthy sweeteners to make decadence and health come together in shortbread style!

Makes 36 cookies

2 cups ground almonds

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour

1/3 cup organic sucanat or coconut sugar

1 egg beaten

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup agave nectar or coconut nectar

1  teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup  whole raw almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.Lightly grease a cookie sheet.   Combine ground almonds, rice flour and sucanat in a large bowl. Blend egg, coconut oil,, agave nectar, and almond extract in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet, ½ cup at a time until well blended.

Roll dough into small, round balls, flatten slightly with fingers or a fork and then press a whole almond into the center of each cookie.

Place cookies on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/36 of a recipe (19 grams).

Calories 86.03

Total Fat 4.97g

Saturated Fat 0.52g

Cholesterol 6.3mg

Sodium 4.26mg

Potassium 87.04mg

Total Carbohydrates 8.71g

Fiber 1.31g

Sugar 2.45g

Protein 2.54g

Dairy free

Gluten Free

Vegetarian

No added refined sugars

Low glycemic

Diabetic friendly

Smart Facts

A high-fat food that’s good for your health? That’s not an oxymoron, its almonds. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease.

Almond Flour 101

Almond Flour is actually just blanched almonds (almonds with the skin removed) ground. Yes- that is it!

What is the difference between Almond Meal/ Ground Almonds and Almond Flour ?

Almond Meal/ Ground Almonds are almonds, ground up with the skin still on. When used in baking, the fibre content is higher, however you will get a much denser consistency.

Almond flour is  almonds that have been blanched( the skin taken off) and ground up. I find for the best consistency, use almond flour  as opposed to almond meal.

Ground Almonds

Where can I find Almond Flour?

You can find almond flour in your local health food store, bulk food store or you can even make it yourself with a food processor!

I love using almond flour in gluten free baking as it is an easy way to increase the protein and fibre in a recipe and keep you feeling full all day!

Almond flour works best with cookies, muffins and cakes. You will get a much denser product, however it tastes amazing!

How to substitute almond flour in your recipe

  • 1 cup of regular flour = 96 grams of almond flour. ALWAYS weigh your almond flour as it is much heavier than regular flour.
  • Ensure to butter or line your pans with parchment paper as almond flour tends to stick.
  • All almond flour products do best if you allow them to sit for a few minutes after baking and then loosen.
  • For each cup of almond flour add in ½ teaspoon of baking powder to ensure they rise properly.

Flourless Christmas Cranberry Breakfast Muffins

by Kathy Smart~from LiveTheSmartWay~ bestselling gluten free cookbook

This is a colourful muffin perfect for those mornings when you need a quick, pick-me-up breakfast or snack during the holidays! With each bite you have the explosion of tart cranberries contrasted perfectly with the richness of ground almonds, honey and butter.

Flourless Christmas Cranberry Muffins!

Serves 12

Ingredients

3 cups of ground almonds

1⁄2 teaspoon of baking soda + ½ teaspoon of gluten free baking powder

1⁄4 teaspoon of sea salt

11⁄2 teaspoons of cinnamon + 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1⁄2 teaspoon of lemon zest

3 whole eggs

1⁄2 cup of honey

11⁄2 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries

Optional Topping:

1 tablespoon of softened butter

2 tablespoons of honey

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 325°f. 
Line a muffin tin with large paper baking cups.

In a bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt cinnamon and lemon zest and mix well. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, and vanilla, then stir in the cranberries. 
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three separate turns, mixing well after each addition. 
Evenly fill each baking cup with the batter (fill to top of cup, muffin only rises about 1 to 11⁄2 centimetres beyond cup) and bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis Amount Per Serving

Calories 241.85

Total Fat 15.88 g

Saturated Fat 3.1 g

Cholesterol 60.51 mg

Sodium 171.47 mg

Potassium 208.02 mg

Total Carbohydrates 21.87 g

Fibre 3.75 g

Sugar 16.11 g

Protein 10 g

Gluten Free

Dairy Free ( if you omit the topping)

High in Fibre

High in Protein

Have YOU ever baked or cooked with almond flour?

What are some tips and tricks you have found? I would love to hear!

Remember…

Live Life Delicious ( and gluten free:)

xo Kathy Smart:)

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