Since I enjoy baking with almond flour I took a spin through Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour and tried the Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes on page 23.The recipes all feature almond or coconut flour, which is a refreshing change from many gluten-free cookbooks that either use mixes or heavy bean flours. Some of the recipes are vegan-friendly, others rely on eggs for the binding/texture. The only downside of the book is the heavy use of palm shortening. Oh well, I ignore the frosting recipes and can use it for cupcakes and muffins. Fair enough! She loves agave nectar to sweeten with, honey can be swapped in with no issues. The most important thing is the recipes work and actually taste good.
I adapted the recipe to use raw honey instead of agave nectar, it works as a fine swap. As well I used my favorite So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut milk instead of canned coconut milk. If there was a difference in the cupcakes I am sure I didn’t notice it. Finally, instead of thick frosting, I topped ours with homemade strawberry jam and a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips. Yum! Walker loved them so much he ate 3 of them plain!
The author extolls the virtues of buying only certain brands of almond flour – and the reason is you need a fine grind to get a better crumb in the cakes. That doesn’t mean you need to buy pre-ground almonds though. A little work and you can make your own, usually at a considerable savings, especially if you buy almonds in bulk. On a side note, often almond flour is sold under almond meal. She also calls for blanched almond flour, meaning the skins have been removed. Pffft! Don’t! Just grind it really, really fine. The skins give a darker appearance to the flour but so what? You won’t see that in the end product! And if you blanched almonds you are not getting all the nutritional benefits of the skins.
Home ground almond flour
- Frozen raw almonds
Take the frozen almonds and process in a dry container of a Vitamix blender or a food processor until finely ground. If using a Vitamix, stop and check as soon as they start powdering, turning the container over to shift the flour – or you will get almond butter at the bottom! For best results only grind 1 cup at a time.
Transfer the ground almonds to a wire mesh strainer over a mixing bowl, sift the finer powder out.
Then grind the remaining large chunks in a clean coffee grinder until small, shake through the strainer as well.
If you have plenty of free time you can do this in small batches entirely in a coffee grinder.
Yes, it IS a lot of work. But hey, it is super fresh…….and you get the benefits of the skin – which blanched almond flour doesn’t have!
- 1½ cups finely ground almond flour (see above)
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder
- 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds, finely ground
- 1 Tbsp flax-seed meal
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 6 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk
- 7 Tbsp raw honey
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 10 of a 12 count muffin tin with liners.
In a large mixing bowl whisk the dry ingredients together.
Whisk the wet ingredients together in a small bowl, add to the dry and stir till just mixed.
Scoop ¼ cup of the batter into each prepared cup.
Bake for 25 minutes, check with a toothpick coming out with just a few moist crumbs.
Cool on a wire rack for an hour before removing from the pan. Best eaten with 24 hours of baking. Store any leftovers wrapped or freeze for later eating.
Makes about 10 cupcakes.